Another Surprising Gintis Review
By Bryan Caplan
Thomas Sowell is a serious economist and a fine writer. There is not a single argument in this book that I think is either incorrect or even disingenuous. Everyone interested in economic and social policy should read this, and his other writings.
Gintis endorses all of the following Sowellian conclusions:
(1) Rent control is a stupid way to help the poor, because it drives down the supply of affordable housing; (2) Racial discrimination is not the cause of income differences between blacks and whites, which are virtually equal when correcting for IQ, education, experience, and other demographic variables; (3) the same is true for the role of gender discrimination in accounting for the lower incomes of women as opposed to men; (4) Slavery, racism, and discrimination are not the cause of the social pathologies associated with poor black inner-city neighborhoods; rather the causes lie in a variant of black culture inherited from traditional southern poor white culture; (5) Poverty in the third world is not caused by imperialism or wealth in the rich countries.
When I was an undergraduate, Gintis was half of Bowles and Gintis, the world’s most famous team of “radical economists.” Apparently he’s a much bigger maverick than I gave him credit for.