This is an outstanding book. It provides an explanation for a great many anomalies that have puzzled or frustrated me over the years. The world is changing fast an unless we can improve on our current lamentable economic and sociological performance the future looks grim. Sowell does not provide a blueprints for how this might be done but he does have some powerful insights that should help to guide the way.
If you have studied systems - engineering, ecological, social and to some extent economic - as I have, you will understand why some actions that appear to be obviously correct have a much reduced or opposite effect to that intended. A brilliant, readable account of one case is given in `Risk' by John Adams. He describes, amongst many other things, why seat belts do not save lives or reduce accidents. (Read it - the argument is compelling.) Social and economic systems are much more complicated than seat belts and understanding them is much more difficult. (Hayek, in `The Fatal Conceit' takes the view that many are effectively beyond understanding.) The result is that governments intervene, guided by a dogma that is regarded as self-evidently correct and is rarely questioned. This is what Sowell calls the `Vision'. Because the vision is so deeply ingrained, the anointed find excuses for each failure and repeat the process. They learn nothing from history.
The writing style is serious of course, but the book is very readable and includes many interesting cases. These examples are American but most people will identify many similar cases in the UK. The vision, and problems it causes, are international.
This is a political message of course; and the response of many people will simply be to turn off. A little silent abuse will be, for many, enough to dismiss the unpleasant thought that they may be wrong. However, for anyone interested in our political systems, who is objective enough to consider the whole spectrum of views, this book is a must.