Race and Culture: A World View by Thomas Sowell, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Race and Culture: A World View

Race and Culture: A World View

5.0 1
by Thomas Sowell
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Thomas Sowell is one of America's leading voices on matters of race and ethnicity. In his most recent book, Inside American Education, he surveyed the ills of American education from the primary grades to graduate school with "an impressive range of knowledge and acuity of observation," according to the Wall Street Journal. Now in his newest book

Overview

Thomas Sowell is one of America's leading voices on matters of race and ethnicity. In his most recent book, Inside American Education, he surveyed the ills of American education from the primary grades to graduate school with "an impressive range of knowledge and acuity of observation," according to the Wall Street Journal. Now in his newest book Race and Culture, he asks the question: "What is it that allows certain groups to get ahead?" and the answer will undoubtedly create debates for years to come.

The thesis of Race and Culture is that productive skills are the key to understanding the economic advancement of particular racial or ethnic groups, as well as countries and civilizations — and that the spread of those skills, whether through migration or conquest, explains much of the advancement of the human race. Whether this body of skills, aptitudes and disciplines is called "culture" or "human capital," it explains far more than politics, prejudice or genetics. Rather than draw on the experience of one country or one era of history, Race and Culture encompasses dozens of racial and ethnic groups, living in scores of countries around the world, over a period of centuries. Due to its breadth and scope, this study is able to test alternative theories empirically on a vast canvas in space and time. Its conclusions refute much, if not most, of what is currently believed about race and about cultures.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Sowell ( Ethnic America ) draws on a worldwide range of examples and more than a decade of research in this intriguing exploration of the role of cultural attributes on group advancement. He aims to demonstrate the ``reality, persistence, and consequences of cultural differences--contrary to many of today's grand theories based on the supposed dominant role of `objective conditions,' `economic forces' or `social structures.' '' He tackles a host of issues: the costs and benefits of residential segregation; how affirmative action primarily helps better-off members of preferred groups; how prominent political leaders are not crucial to group success; how low-scoring groups on intelligence tests do their worst on abstract questions devoid of ``cultural bias.'' Sowell's observations have force, but he sometimes sacrifices depth for breadth. Although he claims to avoid policy prescriptions, he includes facile swipes against multiculturalism and argues, with varying degrees of plausibility, against liberal policies on race. Conservative Book Club selection. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Sowell, a black conservative and senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, moves beyond the domestic focus of his Ethnic America (LJ 6/1/81) to analyze the interplay between the cultural capital and social position of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities around the world. Observing ethnic and racial minorities migrating from country to country, Sowell postulates that existing intergroup cultural values play a predominate role in social status. These values determine which groups follow advances in science, technology, and organization, which fall behind, and which become societal leaders. Sowell concludes that the economic and social condition of many minorities lies not in social and political programs such as affirmative action but in the internal cultural values of the group. Sowell's study undoubtedly will arouse controversy and provoke debate. A valuable addition to minority studies collections in public and academic libraries alike.-Michael A. Lutes, Univ. of Notre Dame Lib., Ind.
Gilbert Taylor
Sowell, a bete noire of liberalism, here continues his high-octane flights against causal connections casually made between race and achievement. His dozen-plus titles tend to deal with specific aspects of racism ("Preferential Policies", 1990), but here the whole world's his stage, and he plays his part as scholarly scolder of shibboleths and sloppy thinking. Unlike the ideologically minded, Sowell ventures no certain theory as to why, for example, certain groups have predominated as middlemen in retail trade, such as the Chinese in Malaya, Jews and then Koreans in America, or Indians in East Africa. Rather, he explains things by how a group's cultural values are manifested in economic terms; he looks at trade-off factors, such as a willingness to sacrifice for the future. From his empirical stance, Sowell dissects how slavery, and not just of Africans, was eradicated; the connection, if any, between race and intelligence; and the workings of conquests and immigration. Though far from a breezy read, this footnote-studded study is a welcome contribution to sober thinking about race. Sowell reminds us that appreciating a group's special and changing stock of "cultural capital" does not constitute prejudice.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465067961
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
07/13/1994
Pages:
352

Meet the Author

Thomas Sowell has taught economics at a number of colleges and universities, including Cornell, University of California Los Angeles, and Amherst. He has published both scholarly and popular articles and books on economics, and is currently a scholar in residence at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >