June 2, 2004

Sowell Review

Thomas Sowell has conducted a five-nation study of affirmative action policies, and found some commonalities:

Among the common consequences of preference policies in the five-country sample are:

- They encourage non-preferred groups to redesignate themselves as members of preferred groups (1) to take advantage of group preference policies;

- They tend to benefit primarily the most fortunate among the preferred group (e.g. black millionaires), oftentimes to the detriment of the least fortunate among the non-preferred groups (e.g. poor whites);

- They reduce the incentives of both the preferred and non-preferred to perform at their best - the former because doing so is unnecessary and the latter because it can prove futile - thereby resulting in net losses for society as a whole; and

- They engender animosity toward preferred groups as well as on the part of preferred groups themselves, whose main problem in some cases has been their own inadequacy combined with their resentment of non-preferred groups who - without preferences - consistently outperform them.

Here's a review by Dutch Martin of the new Sowell book "Affirmative Action Around the World"

Posted by dan at June 2, 2004 8:29 PM