Thomas Sowell is an African American economist, social theorist, political philosopher, and author. He was born in North Carolina but grew up in Harlem. After dropping out of high school, he served in the Marine Corps.
After leaving the service, Sowell attended Harvard University and graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s in economics. He then went on to earn his master’s in economics from Columbia University and his doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago. Sowell is currently a senior fellow with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
He has previously served as a Professor of Economics at UCLA, and he has also served on the faculty at Cornell University and the University of California.
Sowell’s work for the federal government has influenced his view on many issues. He has criticized minimum wage laws, affirmative action, the Federal Reserve, militancy in U.S. Foreign policy, and the drug war. He sees himself as a libertarian and advocates free market economics.
Sowell has written a number of books covering a wide range of topics including classic economic theory, judicial activism, and civil rights. In the following video clip, Sowell discusses the economic and social dynamics of drug illegality. It is taken from his book, “Compassion Versus Guilt & Other Essays,” which was published in 1987. This particular essay was originally published in 1984 as a newspaper column.
Although the essay is 30 years old, it is just as relevant today as it was then. Sowell discusses legalization of criminalized drugs as being a trade-off rather than a solution. He discusses the failure of the legal status of drugs to reduce their existence and how the crusading mentality of law enforcement does nothing positive in eradicating drug use.
To hear more about the impact of legalization on pharmaceutical companies, politics, and society as a whole, check out the video below: