8 Great Quotes on Poverty from Thomas Sowell

My recent post on various causes of poverty in rural Africa stemmed from Scripture and my own experience in the village setting.

My point was that while there are many villagers who are honest and hardworking and have survived terrible crimes in the past (e.g. apartheid), the predominant cause for poverty in the rural areas is one of morality, not victimization. Ultimately, it is only the gospel of Jesus Christ and the principles within the Word of God that can free people from their poverty, either in this life or the next.

Eminent African-American economist, Harvard grad and Hoover Institution professor Dr. Thomas Sowell has much to say about poverty. He grew up poor and without a father. He’s a high school dropout. And yet, he became a great success and has spent his life challenging the Left’s often futile solutions to help the poor. Here are some of his greatest quotes on poverty:

  1. Deep thinkers who look everywhere for the mysterious causes of poverty, ignorance, crime and war need look no further than their own mirrors. We are all born into this world poor and ignorant, and with thoroughly selfish and barbaric impulses.
  2. The vision of the anointed is one in which ills as poverty, irresponsible sex, and crime derive primarily from ‘society,’ rather than from individual choices and behavior. To believe in personal responsibility would be to destroy the whole special role of the anointed, whose vision casts them in the role of rescuers of people treated unfairly by ‘society’.
  3. If you have always believed that everyone should play by the same rules and be judged by the same standards, that would have gotten you labeled a radical 60 years ago, a liberal 30 years ago and a racist today.
  4. The biggest and most deadly ‘tax’ rate on the poor comes from a loss of various welfare state benefits – food stamps, housing subsidies and the like – if their income goes up.
  5. What ‘multiculturalism’ boils down to is that you can praise any culture in the world except Western culture – and you cannot blame any culture in the world except Western culture.
  6. Another of the magic feats of political rhetoric in our time is to blame “a legacy of slavery” for problems in the black community today….[This] argument is not just a convenient excuse for bad behavior, it allows politicians to escape responsibility for the consequences of the government policies they imposed.
  7. The perverse incentives of the welfare state have all too frequently enticed the poor, blacks included, away from finding remunerative work and toward a mentality of dependency and entitlement.
  8. There’s no explanation needed for poverty. The species began in poverty. So what you really need to know is what are the things that enable some countries, and some groups within countries, to be prosperous.
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One thought on “8 Great Quotes on Poverty from Thomas Sowell

  1. I find it very interesting that those apposed to this way of thinking, are typically not in poverty… If you look at South Africa’s fatherless society (of which SA holds the number one spot), it is very interesting to see what happens to a person who grows up without a father in the house. This leaves a major role/opportunity for the Body of Christ to fill.

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