With a new preface by the author, this reissue of Thomas Sowell’s classic study of decision making updates his seminal work in the context of The Vision of the Anointed. Sowell, one of America’s most celebrated public intellectuals, describes in concrete detail how knowledge is shared and disseminated throughout modern society. He warns that society suffers from an ever-widening gap between firsthand knowledge and decision making — a gap that threatens not only our economic and political efficiency, but our very freedom because actual knowledge gets replaced by assumptions based on an abstract and elitist social vision of what ought to be.
Knowledge and Decisions, a winner of the 1980 Law and Economics Center Prize, was heralded as a “landmark work” and selected for this prize “because of its cogent contribution to our understanding of the differences between the market process and the process of government.” In announcing the award, the center acclaimed Sowell, whose “contribution to our understanding of the process of regulation alone would make the book important, but in reemphasizing the diversity and efficiency that the market makes possible, [his] work goes deeper and becomes even more significant.”
“In a wholly original manner [Sowell] succeeds in translating abstract and theoretical argument into a highly concrete and realistic discussion of the central problems of contemporary economic policy.”
— F. A. Hayek
“This is a brilliant book. Sowell illuminates how every society operates. In the process he also shows how the performance of our own society can be improved.”
— Milton Freidman
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He writes a biweekly column in Forbes magazine and a nationally syndicated newspaper column.