By Dag Walker
I’m a Sowell Man
The Greek word oikos means “household.” In the broad sense, a household can be anything from your home to your town, your nation, planet earth, even the whole universe and whatever is beyond that. In a more common sense, we use the Greek word (in English) as “eco” as a preface to “eco-logy” and “eco-nomics,” for examples. Harper is a household, or Pleebo. Liberia is an eco-sphere. Economics is a study of where we live and how we live there. Economics matters.
In December 1827, The American Colonisation Society’s (ACS) Maryland Chapter had raised $10,000 to transport and finance a colony for 23 years for Black Americans at Cape Palmas to create a new home. The colony created a capital city, named after Robert Goodloe Harper, a man from Maryland. Those transported were not from Maryland. Most of the few hundred original settlers in the Cape Palmas area that became Maryland Colony were from the Carolinas, people sent to Baltimore and from there to Africa. Cf.
“Boston Jenkins Drayton (1821–1865) was born in Charleston, South Carolina. He was “a Liberian politician and Lutheran minister … served as the 3rd Chief Justice of Liberia from 1861 until 1864. He had previously served as the final Governor of the Republic of Maryland from 1855 until its annexation by Liberia on 18 March 1857. Carolinaian” Drayton was one of “hundreds of settlers, under 1000 pop. in 1856.”1.
Most Americans, if they have heard of Liberia at all, think it’s a resort town in Costa Rica, Central America. It is not certain why it is not profitable to know about the African nation. In the same way, it is likely that most people in Southeastern Liberia have never heard of Thomas Sowell, economist, though it is possible some are loosely related to the Sowell family. Life is a large household. Liberia and the U.S.A. are related, even if many in America are unaware of this.
The point is that some Liberians might well be related to one of the finest minds of our time, Thomas Sowell, economist. One smart, accomplished, and totally decent guy, and the author of a minimum of 50 books. 2.
Who is the man? Thomas Sowell was born in Gastonia, North Carolina, near the state line with South Carolina. His father died shortly before he was born, leaving behind Sowell’s mother, a housemaid, who already had four children. A great-aunt and her two grown daughters adopted Sowell and raised him. In his autobiography, A Personal Odyssey, Sowell wrote that his childhood encounters with white people were so limited that he did not know that blond was a hair color. When Sowell was nine, his family moved from Charlotte, North Carolina to Harlem, New York City.
He attended Harvard University where he graduated magna cum laude in 1958 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics. He earned a Master’s degree from Columbia University the following year. He was a Marxist “during the decade of my 20s.” Later, Sowell, having worked in government, theorized that the government employees who administered the minimum wage law cared more about their own jobs than the plight of the poor.” He gave up his Marxism.
Sowell earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in economics from the University of Chicago in 1968,was an assistant professor of economics at Cornell University, taught economics at Howard University, Rutgers, Cornell, Brandeis University, Amherst College, and the University of California, Los Angeles. Since 1980, he has been a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University,2.
To give an idea of Sowell, here are a few quotations:
-The least productive people are usually the ones who are most in favor of holding meetings.
-Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good.
-The most basic question is not what is best, but who shall decide what is best.3.
Sowell is one smart guy. It is profitable for intellectuals to study his work. He’s not just some weird accountant-guy in a bad suit mumbling about spreadsheets. He is so smart about important things– economics– that it pays intellectuals to read his works. He’s so good in fact, that not only did Sam and Dave do a song about him, I too am a Sowell Man!
Main Photo: Washington Examiner
Dag W. Walker is an American Writer
Comin’ to you on a dusty road
Good lovin’, I got a truckload
And when ya get it, ha
You got somethin’
So don’t worry, cos I’m comin’
I’m a soul man 4.
“Soul Man” is a 1967 song written and composed by Isaac Hayes and David Porter, first successful as a number 2 hit single by Atlantic Records soul duo Sam & Dave, which consisted of Samuel “Sam” Moore and David “Dave” Prater.
Cf, James Ciment, Another America: The Story of Liberia and the Former Slaves Who Ruled It. https://www.amazon.com/Another-America-Liberia-Former-Slaves-ebook/dp/B009LRWHVI