LEARNING FROM INTELLIGENT MINDS – MANDATORY!

Disclaimer: Good Day, Readers.  WealthBuildingPowers blog is a financial literacy/competency blog and does not provide specific investment recommendations.  

Dr. Thomas Sowell Is My Mentor.   The people close to you, the books you read, and those you follow will ENLIGHTEN YOUR THINKING, AND I BELIEVE YOUR FUTURE! 

I live about 30 miles outside Chicago.  Over this past 4th of July three-day weekend, more than 100 people were shot and 18 murdered. Twelve of the people shot – children.  These horrific numbers surpassed the July 4, 2020  shootings, which saw 70 wounded and 17 killed, including a seven-year-old girl and 14-year-old boy. 

Chicago’s mayor is blaming everyone but Santa Claus and herself while offering ZERO real solutions.  The violence in the U.S. (see below chart) is a crisis and requires sharp minds, NOT more Teleprompting reading politicians.  We need to listen to people who study and follow the data, like Thomas Sowell, who identifies through research THE TRUE ROOT CAUSES versus the Politically Correct Bullshit sprouted by today’s politicians. If you care and want to learn what is needed to close racial gaps in Education, Health, Finance, and even SAVE LIVES, read Thomas Sowell’s work.  

FOLLOW THE DATA

Here are the results from recent policy decisions made by Local, State, and the U.S. Federal Government:

SOME 2020 Decisions

  • Defund the Police – Harming the most vulnerable citizens. 
  • ZERO bail dollars for criminals – Release criminals like catch and release fish.  The difference, fish do not MURDER AND RAPE the innocent! 
  • Limiting shoplifting prosecution to those stealing merchandise over $1,000.00.  Yep- some of our cities are that STUPID.  The results stores like Walgreens and CVS have shut down.  Eliminating access to needed medications, drugstore supplies and eliminating jobs.At a board of supervisors hearing last week, representatives from Walgreens said that thefts at its stores in San Francisco were four times the chain’s national average and that it had closed 17 stores, largely because the scale of thefts had made business untenable.”

BRIEF INTRODUCTION – DR. THOMAS SOWELL

Dr. Thomas Sowell is one of the great social theorists of our age. He wrote a remarkable 36 books in a career spanning more than a half-century, covering the economic history and social inequality to political theory, race, and culture. Jason Riley’s latest book, Maverick, showcases Sowell’s most significant writings and traces the life events that shaped his ideas and resulted in a Black orphan from the Jim Crow South becoming one of our foremost public intellectuals.  

BOOK SUMMARY:  Maverick: A Biography of Thomas Sowell, by Jason L. Riley 


Maverick focuses on Sowell’s evolution as an economist and how he has applied economic analysis to issues related to race, not only in the United States but globally. 

  • “Sowell was born in rural North Carolina in 1930 to a family with no electricity or running hot water. His father died before he was born, and his mother, a maid, passed away, giving birth to his younger brother a few years later. The orphaned Sowell was taken in by a great aunt, who raised him as her son and hid from him the fact that he was adopted and had a sister and four brothers. The family relocated, first to Charlotte, North Carolina, and later, when Sowell was eight years old, to New York City’s Harlem neighborhood, where he was raised thereafter. 
  • While other scholars ask what factors cause poverty, Sowell wants to know what circumstances lead to wealth creation.
  • Recent calls to eliminate S.A.T. scores in the college admissions process because blacks and Hispanics, on average, score lower than whites and Asians ultimately are attempts to obscure where these lagging groups, for whatever reasons, currently measure up against others.
  • At the Labor Department, Sowell was tasked with analyzing the sugar industry in Puerto Rico, where the U.S.S. government ran a program that set minimum wages for workers. He noticed that over a certain period, as the minimum wage had been raised, employment had fallen. At the time, he was a supporter of minimum-wage laws, out of a belief that they helped the poor earn a decent living. But faced with the facts, he started to wonder whether minimum-wage laws were pricing people out of jobs. He also noticed that his coworkers, the department’s permanent staff, didn’t much care either way. “It forced me to realize that government agencies have their own self-interest to look after, regardless of those for whom a program has been set up,” he wrote. “Administration of the minimum wage law was a major part of the Labor Department’s budget and employed a significant fraction of all the people who worked there. Whether or not minimum wages benefited workers may have been my overriding question, but it was clearly not theirs.” It was this realization, not a lecture at the University of Chicago, that made him “want to re-think the larger question of the role of government in general,” he recalled. “The more other government programs I looked into, over the years, the harder I found it to believe that they were a net benefit to society.”
  • To me the psychology of the Negro is the biggest single obstacle to racial progress. It isn’t fashionable to say this, and it certainly isn’t pleasant, but truth does not depend on these considerations. With all due respect to the courage and dedication of the various civil rights groups, I think that when all the laws have been passed and all the gates flung open, the net result will be one tremendous anticlimax unless there is a drastic change of attitude among Negroes. The current pleas for special treatment are a symptom of the attitude that needs changing, and such treatment would be a big obstacle to the necessary change. 
  • Intellectuals have romanticized cultures that have left people mired in poverty, ignorance, violence, disease, and chaos, while trashing cultures that have led the world in prosperity, education, medical advances and law and order, he wrote in Intellectuals and Society.
  • They have encouraged the poor to believe their poverty is caused by the rich—a message which may be a passing annoyance to the rich but a lasting handicap to the poor, who may see less need to make fundamental changes to their own lives that could lift themselves up, instead of focusing their efforts on dragging others down.
  •  The black community has long been plagued by spellbinding orators who know how to turn the hopes and fears of others into dollars and cents for themselves.  Here, Sowell was speaking not only as a scholar but also from personal experience. “The current militant rhetoric, self-righteousness and lifestyle are painfully old to me,” he continued. “I have seen the same intonations, the same cadence, the same crowd manipulation techniques, the same visions of mystical redemption, the same faith that certain costumes, gestures, phrases and group emotional release would somehow lead to the Promised Land. And I have seen the same hustling messiahs driving their Cadillacs and getting their pictures in the paper.
  • After Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then-President Lyndon B. Johnson’s assistant secretary of labor, noted, in a 1965 government study of the black family, that the growing number of black children born to single mothers was bound to hinder the future social and economic progress of blacks, civil rights leaders, politicians, commentators, and other critics denounced Moynihan as a bigot who was “blaming the victim.” And when two well-regarded social scientists, Christopher Jencks and David Riesman, published a frank and comprehensive critique of black colleges in a 1967 issue of the Harvard Educational Review, they received similar treatment.”
    • Sowell’s growing suspicion was that colleges and universities weren’t really serious about educating blacks. Rather, they wanted more blacks matriculating on campus for the sake of appearances, and they were setting up black studies departments haphazardly as a “pay-off to prevent campus disruption.
    • Actually, some of the most relevant studies for dealing with ghetto needs would be medicine, law and business administration,” he wrote. “Black people must be able to provide for themselves, cure themselves and defend themselves against injustices, under integration, separation, or whatever.” Instead, too many of these programs were steering black students into faux “disciplines” where they didn’t have to meet the same academic requirements as their nonblack peers. He feared that black studies would become “merely a euphemism for black political centers housed on college grounds,” with shoddy standards for faculty and students alike. “Like many other things, black studies can be good as a principle and disastrous as a fetish,” he warned. “It cannot take the place of fundamental intellectual skills or excuse a copping-out from competition with white students.… There are many ways of serving black people, abandoning black people, and exploiting the suffering of black people. Black studies can play any of these roles.
  • It is considered the height of callousness to tell blacks to lift themselves up by their own bootstraps. But the cold historical fact is that most blacks did lift themselves out of poverty by their own bootstraps—before their political rescuers arrived on the scene with civil rights legislation in the 1960s or affirmative action policies in the 1970s. As of 1940, 87 percent of black families lived below the poverty line. This fell to 47 percent by 1960, without any major federal legislation on civil rights and before the rise and expansion of the welfare state under the Great Society programs of President Lyndon Johnson. This decline in the poverty rate among blacks continued during the 1960s, dropping from 47 percent to 30 percent. But even this continuation of a trend already begun long before cannot all be attributed automatically to the new government programs. Moreover, the first decade of affirmative action—the 1970s—ended with the poverty rate among black families at 29 percent. Even if that one percent decline was due to affirmative action, it was not much. The fact that an entirely different picture has been cultivated and spread throughout the media cannot change the historical facts. What it can do—and has done—is make blacks look like passive recipients of government beneficence, causing many whites to wonder why blacks can’t advance on their own, like other groups. Worse, it has convinced many blacks themselves that their economic progress depends on government programs in general and affirmative action in particular. Nevertheless, it is a pragmatic individualism.”
  • illustrated his deep belief that education plays an essential role in black advancement. Education had lifted him out of poverty and into the middle class, and he had no doubt that it could do the same for others, regardless of whatever else blacks in the United States had stacked against them.
  • The goal of higher education, in Sowell’s view, was not to maximize college attendance rates at any cost, but to attract those students who were most likely to gain something meaningful from the experience. Expanding the socioeconomic pool from which schools chose students was the right thing to do, especially given the way these institutions had discriminated against certain groups in the past. Still, college administrators shouldn’t “thoughtlessly sentimentalize mass education,” which could only result in the deterioration of academic standards at the expense of the more capable students who were there to learn.
  • …..but in choosing between political candidates, one must choose one candidate’s whole package—his fiscal policy, environmental position, foreign policy, civil liberties views, etc.—as against the whole package of his opponent’s positions on the same subjects. 
  • Even within democratic nations, the locus of decision making has drifted away from the individual, the family, and voluntary associations of various sorts, and toward government,” he wrote. “And within government, it has moved away from elected officials subject to voter feedback, and toward more insulated government institutions, such as bureaucracies and the appointed judiciary. These trends have grave implications, not only for individual freedom, but also for the social ways in which knowledge is used, distorted, or made ineffective.”
  • Near the end of the book, Sowell is quoted as saying, “Today at least we know that there are lots of other blacks writing and saying similar things—more than I can keep track of, in fact—and many of them are sufficiently younger that we know there will be good people carrying on the fight after we are gone.”
  • Thomas Sowell is now 90 years old and still a prolific writer and contributor. My only sadness is that he has never been awarded a Nobel Prize in Economics. In 2015, Forbes magazine said: “It’s a scandal that economist Thomas Sowell has not been awarded the Nobel Prize.”

CONCLUSION – LEARNING FROM INTELLIGENT MINDS – MANDATORY!

Dr. Sowell’s writings helped me formulate below Financial Freedom Achievement Strategy.

EDUCATION: The people who need much better education opportunities are in our inner cities.  For too many, their best, maybe only chance to escape generational cycles of poverty – GOOD CHARTER SCHOOLS. The Biden administration and most Democrat mayors oppose charter schools.  I have never read logical reasoning.

If you want to improve how you think or make decisions, expand your sources of knowledge.  But you MUST think for yourself when you learn from others, even your influencers. Ask questions for deeper understanding. Learn to make your notes about what you think they are saying. Build your capacity for thought.

“Nothing learned from a book is worth anything until it is used and verified in life; only then does it begin to affect behavior and desire,” Will Durant 

EARNINGS:  Paying people more to collect unemployment versus work should get a Nobel Prize for the most creative dimwit policy.

DR SOWELL’S BOOKS I READ

RECENTLY PURCHASED AND GETTING READY TO LEARN!  YAHOOOOOOOO!

Don’t allow your current way of thinking to stand in the way of your intellectual progress. “It is what we know already that often prevents us from learning.” Claude Bernard 

Final word, this summary is not a substitute for reading this book or, much better, Dr. Sowell’s books.  This brief summary is like a postcard of a beautiful city—something you need to experience for yourself.  READ!  LEARN!  GROW!! 

DR. THOMAS SOWELL

“Thomas Sowell was born in Gastonia, North Carolina but grew up in Harlem. As with many others in his neighborhood, Thomas Sowell did not finish high school and left home early. The years that followed were difficult for Sowell. He eventually joined the Marine Corps, where he became a photographer in the Korean War. Shortly after his honorable discharge, Thomas Sowell entered Harvard University. He worked as a part-time photographer and studied the science that would become his passion and profession: economics.
For a man who didn’t graduate from high school, Sowell did very well for himself. He graduated from Harvard University (1958), magna cum laude, then received his master’s in economics from Columbia University (1959). Later he earned his doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago (1968).
In the early ’60s, Sowell held jobs as an economist with the Department of Labor and AT&T. However, Sowell’s fascination was for teaching and scholarly pursuits. While at Cornell University in 1965, Sowell began the first of his many professorships. Other teaching assignments quickly followed: Rutgers University, Amherst College, Brandeis University, and the University of California at Los Angeles, where he taught in the early ’70s and 1984 to 1989.
As noted earlier, Thomas Sowell has published a large volume of writing. His dozens of books and numerous articles and essays cover a wide range of topics, from classic economic theory to judicial activism, from civil rights to choosing the right college.
Though Thomas Sowell had been a regular contributor to newspapers in the late ’70s and early ’80s, he did not begin his career as a newspaper columnist until 1984.
In 1990, Sowell won the prestigious Francis Boyer Award, presented by The American Enterprise Institute.
Currently, Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute in Stanford, Calif.”

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ABOUT ME

I am a proud nerd (as my beautiful wife and daughter have told me) investment and finance blogger with aN.C.C. State, Chemical Engineering, University Rutgers, M.B.A. and Harvard University, Advanced Management education.

I left a corporate career because I desired to make a difference as a speaker and writer. I was blessed to be coached and mentored by strong women and men in my family and professional life.  It is my time to serve and give back.

DISCLAIMER

I started my first business at ~13 years of age (a small but brilliantly created plant nursery). I am a successful investor in stocks, options, real estate and happy to share my finance and investment lessons.  I am NOT a licensed financial advisor.  Please do not construe my suggestions on this blog as recommendations for your situation. As an investor, you must establish your risk/loss tolerance. Investment in any asset involves risk, including complete loss. 

 Please seek your licensed C.P.A. or fiduciary financial advisors for individual financial advice.  

I write this weekly blog to make an impact by reaching an audience and demonstrating the need for financial literacy. I will help you get there.

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This blog will provide, information and simple strategies, that will assist you to achieve YOUR financial objectives and long term targets. For over 30 years, I solved multi-million dollar problems, for Fortune 10-250, companies. My formal education includes: Business, Finance and Chemical Engineering {Problem Solving} at: Harvard, Rutgers and North Carolina State. And an additional 30+ years, managing my family’s investment decisions. I currently manage/advise people with net-worths ranging from the tens of thousands to several million dollars.

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