Wall Street Journals weekendudgave havde et længere interview med den store skribent og Chicago-uddannede økonom, Thomas Sowell (Hoover Institution ved Stanford University). Her arbejder han sammen med bl.a. Milton Friedman, som sammen med Georg Stigler var Sowells ph.d. vejleder på Chicago. Sowell er fyldt 75 år, men er lige kommet med endnu en bog–til en i forvejen lang liste af bøger om emner rangerende fra økonomisk idehistorie over kulturstudier til race og etnicitet. Fra interviewet bl.a. dette:
“The left likes to portray a group as sort of a creature of surrounding society. But that’s not true. For example, back during the immigrant era, you had neighborhoods on the Lower East Side [of Manhattan] where Jews and Italians arrived at virtually identical times. Lived in the same neighborhoods. Kids sat side by side in the same schools. But totally different outcomes. Now, if you look back at the history of the Jews and the history of the Italians you can see why that would be. In the early 19th century, Russian officials report that even the poorest Jews find some way to get some books in their home, even though they’re living in a society where over 90% of the people are illiterate.
“Conversely, in southern Italy, which is where most Italian-Americans originated, when they put in compulsory school-attendance laws, there were riots. There were schoolhouses burning down. So now you take these two kids and sit them side by side in a school. If you believe that environment means the immediate surroundings, they’re in the same environment. But if you believe environment includes this cultural pattern that goes back centuries before they were born, then no, they’re not in the same environment. They don’t come into that school building with the same mindset. And they don’t get the same results.”