Thomas Sowell: Debunking Systemic Racism and Having Common Decency (Pt. 2)

Thomas Sowell: Debunking Systemic Racism and Having Common Decency (Pt. 2)

Dr. Thomas Sowell (Economist and Author) joins Dave to discuss the role of government, the problem with minimum wage laws, his experience as a black conservative, debunking systemic racism, the importance of common decency, and his new book “Discrimination & Disparities.” ***Subscribe:

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Dr. Thomas Sowell
Economist, Political Philosopher, and Author
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what would you do about our school systems oh my goodness I'll try out you try to be rational do try yeah there they are so awful but the public has no idea what I'm reading a book about schools and the woman who's writing a Diane rabbit just talking about how teachers have due process before they can be fired now when you look into the facts of it right down here and I think there's a certain they cost a half a million dollars to fire one incompetent teacher you know you don't have a big enough budget you know and right and the in New York yes when I call the rubber room there's the teachers who are so incompetent that the principal's don't want them in the classroom yeah and they get paid full salary and they show up and they accrue a pension rights and so forth and the last time I forget how many millions of dollars are spent a year in New York paying for teachers who don't teach and in fact don't do anything but show up at the same time as if they were teaching and they read magazines or whatever they feel like doing and this this force goes on at a time when they don't have enough money to provide the kids with decent supplies so how do we scale back this I mean you can talk we can talk about it through the lens of Education but in any and in a area where the government has taken on a bigger role than it's supposed to I think one of the things you hear all the time is it's sort of too late I think a lot of people think it's too late to take back no government power no you you heavens uh during the Reagan administration that was the only time I know of when the Federal Register grew smaller that is where they compile all the laws that have been passed in a given time so it can be done it's not it's not it's not it's not and that's not easy but it can be done someone wants although some issue is said Reagan was discussing and someone say you know it it's complicated he said it's not complicated it's just not easy to do I mean right now we I I one of the big forces out here it talks about affordable housing and they're pointing Blue Ribbon committees to look into why there's no affordable housing and I think that's that's like appointing a blue-ribbon committee to explain why the ground is wet after a rain I mean it's very simple if you prevent people from building housing and the population is growing you're gonna have a housing shortage yeah and you won't have affordable housing it's really you know economics one during the first first two weeks they're not very good at taking economics 101 I don't think so so would your answer it be in almost every case to just scale back government scale back regulation is the president what they don't know there was some things that government is necessary to do so what are those type of things that you owe for security first of all having having dependable laws up some people think that if you're for free markets that means you don't think the government should do anything no you can the free markets don't operate except within a framework of laws that's wholly different from having them operate with politicians jumping in unpredictable times to suddenly pass some new legislation yeah what can we do right now I mean so really this would be about just sort of electing more libertarian minded politicians then I mean is that really the only way we can change things do you think no I think the main thing people have to know what the facts are themselves if everyone knew what all the facts were I think you'd have an entirely different set of people elected I I can't believe that either of the presidential candidates in 19 and 2016 would have would have been the candidates if you had an informed public how much of this do you think is part of a media's fault that's one of the things well the media are mostly uninformed no no they're not uninformed they are misinformed hmm and and and they simply do not check the facts on the large issues are small yeah what what can we do to fix that do you think I mean I suppose this no no I know you know writing books like this well but I think more fun mentally the public that votes has to itself become informed and not be so easily stampeded by slogans and a few numbers thrown around like you know women make X percent of what men make and so on yeah and when I was started studying that some years ago for example I found out that young young female doctors made much less money than young male doctors not to seem like very odd and it's right but when you're looking into it you discover that young male doctors work an average of 500 hours a year more than young female doctors and they get paid for the 500 hours but but there's no reason why the women and men should be doing the same thing their circumstances are different so are there any laws that are in place right now that you believe are discriminatory one way or another tort towards any community or against any community I would have to write a larger book to cover them all the minimum wage law is absolutely devastating the policy of saying that you cannot have more kids from one ethnic group disciplined in the school and from another is nonsense I mean groups are different from each other and umpteen ways and then this helis have the presumption that they are the same except for the way their they're treated there's nonsense that's never been true and I don't know why we would think it's true here today so I do sense that some of what you just said there is bubbling up into the national consciousness evil from black conservatives now people that feel that they haven't been represented fairly or that the the you know the so-called leaders of the black community that are on television all the time are actually preaching the complete reverse of everything that you've said here yeah do you sense that there is some sort of growing conservative movement well no there was a community there was a time when when that that community would consisted of me and Walter well yeah I know all they used to say we with the – it should never fly on the same plane otherwise the whole movement will disappear that goes down well I mentioned to you before we started that Larry Eldar caused my awakening because I was a progressive and I said something to him about systemic racism non-air man he beat me senseless with facts and I had to go back and reassess what was wrong with my thinking well you know anyone in one of the in one of the chapters there I have a little section about the era of apartheid under South in South Africa and I had that in there because there's so much argument of how much racism is there so forth I said let's test this hypothesis in a setting where there's absolutely no doubt it and that's apartheid in South Africa with a government where blacks are not allowed to vote and so forth and you then apply the economic principle and you find that the economic principles apply in South Africa that there are some occupations see blacks weren't allowed by law to be insane occupations more than the same percentage and in some occupations couldn't be hired at all and some of those occupations where they couldn't be hired at all illegal to hire them at all there were more blacks hired than there were whites because there are economic factors that come in and you don't just pass law and that automatically produces the results you want yeah can you go into some of the economic factors that you mentioned there because I thought it was sort of interesting about the types of jobs that I had and why that would affect well it's it's no it's the competitiveness of the industry and a competitive industry discrimination and then in the sense that we that we use for anti-discrimination laws it costs the discriminator as well as the others now insofar as that price can be evaded by the discriminated he will he will describe for example minimum wage laws let when you have a minimum wage law you have more people applying for jobs in those categories then there are jobs available because the Razr were Asian the wage rate causes more people to apply and employers to hire fewer because they're more expensive and so we have a chronic surplus now if you've got a chronic surplus in an industry it costs nothing to discriminate but and and but but if you have a competitive market then of course it does cost something for every person that you discriminate against was qualified you've got to hire somebody else and you to raise that pavé kept raised in order to get people in so I show how competitive industries have much less discrimination than say regulated public utilities so I was wondering when I was reading it if you were ever going to talk about how now technology is also changing this so we see a lot of these movements for $15 minimum wage and I know why you don't think that's a great idea but even now where we see McDonald's and some of these other places just replacing people with yes and computers this has been happening I don't know when I grew up in Harlem when you went into a movies here this is a little neighborhood movie theater in Harlem there would be a kid who would walk by hot rock down the aisle with you with a place light show you to you to see you see and so now now that we have so many compassionate people who wanted want people to be paid a minute a living wage you actually stumbled down the charge that down the aisle to your seat the best way you can yeah because they're not gonna pay that kind of money you know that's unrelated to productivity yeah what would you say to the people I hear a growing movement of people saying well this is why we need a universal basic income because technology is going to force for so many people out of the work place oh and that has been and that is that always been made for centuries and it has been proven wrong for centuries I would ask the question what has happened we've moved in that direction already we have lots of people who can live off the welfare say and not and not and not have to had to be productive and are they better people as a result of that one of I saw some time back and I haven't followed this that young people is suicide rates among young people were among the negative consequences of the 1960s people you you you've taken all meaning out of people's lives and so they find all kinds of crazy things to do drugs whatever and then again it's not peculiar to the United States as you find us in Britain other countries and so again people who say this almost never look at any facts about what's happened as we expanded the welfare state that people behave better no you know I mean what I want one of the one of the things that moments that I remember very well when I was I was back in the school in Harlem for some reason maybe doing research and I looked out the window and I said said you know I when I was a teenager I used to walk a dog my dog in that Park and look look so horror came over the students faces because that was a different world and so and and when I tell them that I used to sleep out on a fire escape on hot summer nights go who who could afford air-conditioning and they think I'm a man from all people did that all over New York they did it in Washington they did it in North Carolina relatives were in Washington used to go down and Haines point down near the Jefferson Memorial on hot summer nights and sleep there so you know sometime after midnight when they didn't win it when there was heat wouldn't be so bad they'd go home at that time you'd be out of your mind to do that today it'd be too dangerous yeah so how do we sort of untie some of this so my sister right now lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan not too far from Harlem and she's in a half rent stabilizer rent-controlled building and a 10 1/2 market price she's on the market price so she's paying that two-bedroom in New York City I don't even want to tell you how expensive it is but then there are basically half of the building that's paying next to nothing and that of course incentivizes people not to get off the dole because if you're living in a nice area on the Upper West Side very cheap why in the world would you ever get off the dole how do we start solving these problems and I know I know facts is your is your bedrock and yes but but what can we do to get people to understand some of this stuff because it's C it seems so basic to understand if someone was giving you something that you didn't earn again there's always hard to this again this is common one of this and in Europe and they England especially it's a special problem because you you have the Hat you have this place with where where the you're in is subsidized and say you're in London and job is a disappearing in London and they are opening up in Manchester now if you go to Manchester you know you know you a waiting list for that kind of job and if you stand in London you're unemployed but your rent is low and so Peter so you slow down the movement of people you slow down the turnover of people in these apartments but again most people who talk about this don't even talk in terms of if this than that they talk about it is this is how the world ought to be well heck I got any of all kinds of things to how I think the world ought to be but unfortunately most of those things involve a cost a trade-off do you think there's a system or a government that's doing it better doing freedom better than we're doing it here for all the flaws that we have in this in this system is anyone doing it better than us although there may be marginally so but I think most of the Western world is less free that than it was say 30 years ago 40 years ago by what measurements do you view that oh just the amount of regulations things you could use and also by consequences either I was reading up Milton Friedman's he and his wife had a joint autobiography and she's looking at one point she says she's looking back on the days when she would ride the IND subway in Manhattan and what a joy it was and she said in those long-gone days and the IND subway goes through Harlem and Oakland Freeman and his wife and they were still quoting used to go dancing at the Savoy Ballroom very few people want want and you know the famous theme song of Duke Ellington take the A train the a train goes right through Harlem on the I in these line and so Friedman who was only five foot two had no fear of being mugged or even a costume and go there they were and this was common it wasn't where there was a black actress who used to get finished with play and her socializing afterwards and at one o'clock in the morning she said she would be taking the subway up to a hundred and 55th Street and st. Nicholas Avenue by herself and what I'm walking home nobody does that these days and so you have to look wanted what are the facts how did they change and and and you don't simply say the other thing is that they're saying the No Child Left Behind thing with bush yeah yeah there are kids who go to school to raise hell and a handful of those can prevent the whole class from learning anything now the logical thing would be to separate those kids out and that ones who wanted to learn something learn something you can't do that because the ideology says no and again so and so you sacrifice whole generations of poor and minority kids for this ideology and this utopian notion yeah and we end up in an odd dystopia probably you know I'm favor you can say the best is the enemy of the good and of course it would be better if everybody could be educated at the same time it can't be done so as someone that has survived the the arrows and and the the venom that the left can throw at you because I see a lot of this these days I see you even what they say to me I find I get a lot of email from people saying well how can I be brave enough to do it and I think it's particularly a unique situation for minorities that consider themselves conservative or libertarian or a little bit to the right so I mentioned larry elder before and of course you and my friend david webb and i you know there there are some more black conservatives than perhaps there used to be oh no question about what would be if someone's watching this right now and just needs that little extra bit of courage to start saying no no no no you you have to look look at this circumstances I mean I've advised some young people do not go into to indication in public schools because the odds are so stacked against you and people can write bad references from you for you between specially when you're young and you and what they say about you is all that there's someone sees now by the time I was teaching at some of these schools I remember one place where the department used to threaten one of my colleagues he would right good Rabb references form I had I had you know I publish stuff while I was still in graduate school I had Milton Freeman and joy stay with the right references for me what this guy said there another department wouldn't wouldn't matter a bit but but most people don't don't have that situation yeah and so you have to pick you yet to pick your face so I want to time is limited here I want to mention one thing that you say right at the end of the book that really what we need more than anything else perhaps is common decency yes and we've kind of lost that isn't common anymore I mean when I was going to school and we'd have fights on the schoolyard grounds when once one guy was clearly beaten whoever was the toughest kids in the crowd would simply step in and stop it the other guys he said you want to fight you can fight me yeah that we need in the public square now yes yes but but with it would I mean the pool is only so much the police can do if he if you don't have common decency that the the cops have are not not going to be able to handle it especially when everyone is second yes I love it when people who have never fired a gun in their lives say why did the cops fire so many kindness now at one time I taught pistol shooting in the Marine Corps it doesn't surprise me in the slightest of a shot that fired so many things under those conditions but people you people can't be knowledgeable about everything but they can be knowledgeable about the extent of their own ignorance even if they have PhDs sir this has been a true honor and a pleasure and I know I can see it in your eyes even the sort of humility that you have in humbleness but you you've affected so many people and are still continuing to affect so many people and I hope that we might have just given that a little extra bump today so I'm truly honored that you took your time well thank you boys you


  1. He thinks government is needed. Government is a monopoly on too many things. The US started off as a Libertarian type of government but now its a full fledged socialist-corporatist fiasco. government will always grow and take over and destroy. The most cunning of criminals will always get control of it. The best course is complete decentralization all the way down to the Individual.

  2. Yes it is great to see that this clown with Plantation mentality is well praised here by the conservative group of this society. Tell when was the last time this planet remains conservatively the same.

  3. It's so clear he's saying stuff favorable to the system of racism and the system at large because the hoover institute is his financial benefactor.

  4. A public, as Sir Bertrand Russell said after visiting here over one hundred years ago, that does not teach the skill of critical thinking in its educational institutions will produce just exactly the kinds of individuals that will tolerate the incompetence in teaching this man has described. Marva Collins whom Ronald Reagan asked to be his Secretary of Education brought inner city children to
    high-school level work with books GLEANED from TRASH BINS!…………….

    Yet, according to a New York Times article suicides decrease in middle schools during summer vacation but increase when school re-opens! Sad!

    E. Tippett
    Retired Musician/Teacher
    Chicago, Illinois

  5. Despite my own wide breadth and deep interest in all manner of studies I would keep my stupid mouth shut and ears and eyes wide open if ever Mr. Sowell were near me. God bless him and those humble enough to learn from him.

  6. Mr. Sowell seems to not realize that correlation is NOT causation. The welfare state is not the reason for every single problem in the black community. Every problem in the black community has caused by our white supremacist society. During the 70s, 80s, and 90s where talking heads love putting the blame on welfare, there was redlining, racial profiling, the war on drugs etc… All those caused more problems than welfare. My grandparents and parents were both on government assistance growing up and I grew up without it. My cousins also grew up without it. And when I have kids, they won't be on it. Anecdotal sure, but it didn't make us lazy.

    This is why I hate black Republicans. It's ok to have a different political alignment but most of them tend to tap dance and be disingenuous with their arguments. Saying systemic racism is a myth is absolutely ridiculous and not fact based. Even suggesting that is disingenuous…

  7. We are dumbed down if we don’t care about shotty schooling for our future… Education doesn’t encourage one to do this.
    People are more concerned with entertainment than correcting this kind of stuff. It seems daunting.

  8. I have reading Thomas Sowell for 12 years it was easy to borrow his books from the library now more people are reading him since Kanye west a good thing but I have to wait till they are returned. Why isn’t his books required reading.

  9. My sister in law is a 2nd grade teacher. She has a non compliant black student. Now his mother is threatening to sue the school, because my sister in law "is a racist." So YOU TELL ME WHO HAS THE POWER!!

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