Most helpful critical review
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on 11 January 2013
This book is one of the most disingenuous and tendentious books I have read in some time. Thomas Sowell is clearly a man with an axe to grind - and boy can he grind. In the crazy world of Thomas Sowell the real world behaves just like the text book world of general equilibrium theory. In this world prices serve only to clear markets (there is no information content); competition is 'perfect', and insofar as monopoly or oligopoly does exist - you guessed it - it's the Government's fault and can best be eliminated by - you guessed it again - the market. In the crazy world of Tommy everyone is rational (we're not - have you heard of behavioural economics Thomas?); everyone has perfect information (we don't, in fact that is the very reason we have brands); and, above all, there are no economic rents - in fact economic rent isn't even mentioned in the index presumably because all rents get competed away in Tommy's perfect market place. Of course, the great thing about economic rent is that it can be appropriated by workers, by Governments - or even by capitalists for that matter - without changing the economic incentives on anyone. Did you get that Tommy? This means that taxation can be re-distributive and that unions can bargain for higher pay, and that capitalists can earn super normal profits without affecting the efficiency of the economy as a whole. So the distribution of income turns out to be a political question as well as an economic question after all. There are many other deliberate distortions in this book too numerous to mention. Don't read it, above all don't buy it - otherwise I fear you will be guilty, like me, of the misallocation of scare resources for which there are alternative uses. Indeed, given that I think the calorific value of this book is higher than the education value, you know what the cast iron laws of economics require me to do with it...