Migrations and Cultures: A World View

Migrations and Cultures: A World View

Migrations and Cultures: A World View

Migrations and Cultures: A World View

Synopsis

Most commentators look at the issue of immigration from the viewpoint of immediate politics. In doing so, they focus on only a piece of the issue and lose touch with the larger picture. In "Migrations and Cultures", Thomas Sowell shows the persistence of cultural traits in particular racial and ethnic groups and the role these groups' relocations play in redistributing skills, knowledge, and other forms of "human capital".

Excerpt

This book about the odysseys of peoples has had odysseys of its own. Evolving over a period of more than a dozen years, it has ended up being very different from what it was conceived to be at the outset in 1982 or what it was at various stages along the way. For example, what was conceived of as a single book has ended up as three (thus far). Race and Culture, published in 1994, was originally the last quarter of a huge manuscript of the same name, which included the histories now published here separately. Another spin-off was a study of affirmative action programs around the world entitled Preferential Policies: An International Perspective, published in 1991.

This has been an odyssey for the author as well--not only an odyssey of the mind but also a series of journeys that took me to 15 countries on four continents, some of these countries being visited two or three times over the years. Much of the data, literature, and expertise available in these countries was invaluable and virtually impossible to get while staying at home. Seeing the many peoples themselves, and their clearly very different ways and paces of working, often made their economic differences something that required no esoteric or sinister theories to explain.

History can be cruel to theories, as it has been cruel to peoples. Examples of both should be apparent in the chapters that follow. But history is what happened, not what we wish had happened, or what a theory says should have happened. History cannot be prettified in the interests of promoting "acceptance" or "mutual respect" among peoples . . .

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