Thomas Sowell on poverty

A great quote from retiring economist Thomas Sowell:

In material things, there has been almost unbelievable progress. Most Americans did not have refrigerators back in 1930, when I was born. Television was little more than an experiment, and such things as air-conditioning or air travel were only for the very rich.

My own family did not have electricity or hot running water, in my early childhood, which was not unusual for blacks in the South in those days.

It is hard to convey to today’s generation the fear that the paralyzing disease of polio inspired, until vaccines put an abrupt end to its long reign of terror in the 1950s.

Most people living in officially defined in the 21st century have things like cable television, microwave ovens and air-conditioning. Most Americans did not have such things, as late as the 1980s. People whom the intelligentsia continue to call the “have-nots” today have things that the “haves” did not have, just a generation ago.” 

We have much to be grateful for. That so much progress could be witnessed by ONE man is often lost on today’s pampered populace. To the nay-sayers and anti-capitalists alike, to the former Sanders supporters and socialists-lite, I say the following: You may not believe this one economist’s free market stances, you may not believe his calculations or projections, but what you cannot take away is that which he observed first hand. In ONE lifetime, he witnessed our “poor” going from huts without electricity to homes with electricity, tv, cable, internet, air conditioning, video games, microwaves, and refrigeration. Can you really feel that things – today – are as bad as you think they are, given how far we’ve come? Perhaps you feel the way you do because you lack perspective on what TRUE poverty is and how far our society has come.

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