Thomas Sowell

People in the media, in academia and among the intelligentsia in general who are obsessed with "disparities" in income and wealth usually show not the slightest interest in how that income and wealth were produced in the first place.

They are hot to redistribute the existing income and wealth but seem wholly unaware that how you do that today can affect how much income and wealth will be produced tomorrow. Any number of schemes for redistributing wealth have ended up redistributing poverty in a number of countries.

"Progressives" in the media and among academics and intellectuals claim to be interested in ending poverty but the production of more output is the only way to end poverty for millions of people.

It not only can be done, it has already been done in many countries, for all countries were once very poor by today's standards. But most self-styled "progressives" show virtually zero interest in economic history or in economics in general.

Even in the United States, most people did not have a telephone or a refrigerator as late as 1930. Today, most Americans living below the official poverty level have not only these things but also color television, air-conditioning, a microwave oven and a motor vehicle.

How did this happen? The progressive intelligentsia show no interest in that question.

Even such historically poverty-stricken countries as India and China, repeatedly struck by massive famines, have within the past two decades adopted changed economic policies that have raised vast numbers of people out of desperate poverty.

An estimated 20 million people in India rose out of destitution in just one decade and more than a million Chinese per month have risen out of poverty. But have you heard any progressive intellectuals explaining how such a dramatic change for the better came about?

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate