Thursday, July 09, 2009

Worthwhile Sentences on People

From Alex Tabarrok Jacqueline Novogratz: "Philanthropy can appeal to people who want to be loved more than they want to make a difference."

From Arnold Kling summarizing Thomas Sowell: "the [political] right thinks that social problems primarily reflect basic constraints, while the left thinks that they reflect the failure of good to triumph over evil."

From Walter Williams: "Having been around for 73 years, I have been through a number of names. Among the polite ones are: colored, Negro, Afro-American, black, and now African-American. Among those names, African-American is probably the most unintelligent."

From Allison Schrager: "Like most people, I am far too self-involved to make it as a cheat."

From Tyler Cowen: "take the smartest person you know and put him or her on TV for hours a week, for years, and see what happens."

*Past worthwhile sentences.


  1. That first sentence is by Jacqueline Novogratz, founder of the Acumen Fund, not Tabarrok. I have listened to both her TED talks and I'm strongly considering giving to the Acumen Fund. It seems like a such a good idea and seems to be doing so well. What I don't understand is why it shouldn't be considered "philanthropy." People define charity too narrowly, I think.

    I very well may write a blog post on #3, and I hope you don't take it as an attack on you, I just really disagree with this line of thinking. And I've heard it before, and I understand it's WW saying it, not you. But people who don't like the term African American never seem to have the good of others foremost in their minds. If someone prefers to be called African American and finds "Black" offensive, what harm does it do me to call them African American? Economists are all about value, right? Isn't it charitable and even rational to give up what costs me nothing (calling someone a somewhat illogical term) to gain the goodwill of that person? Isn't that putting others before ourselves? Shouldn't that be the goal - not looking down our noses at it? The fact is black culture and American history is permanently stained by slavery. If calling blacks African Americans gives provides just a little healing, far be it from me to put myself above that.

    I thought the Arnold King and Allison Schrager articles were very interesting, thanks for posting them!

  2. Sorry about the misquote.

    As for the whole African American thing, Walter Williams is black. So for me, a white man not wanting to offend people, hearing him say African American is odd was helpful.

    As always thanks for the comments.


You are the reason why I do not write privately. I would love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree or not.