One of conservatism's most articulate voices dissects today's most important economic, racial, political, education, legal, and social issues, sharing his entertaining and thought-provoking insights on a wide range of contentious subjects. —"This book contains an abundance of wisdom on a large number of economic issues." —Mises Review
In this classic work, Thomas Sowell analyzes the two competing visions that shape our debates about the nature of reason, justice, equality, and power: the “constrained” vision, which sees human nature as unchanging and selfish, and the “unconstrained” vision, in which human nature is malleable and perfectible.
He describes how these two radically opposed views have manifested themselves in the political controversies of the past two centuries, including such contemporary issues as welfare reform, social justice, and crime.
Updated to include sweeping political changes since its first publication in 1987, this revised edition of A Conflict of Visions offers a convincing case that ethical and policy disputes circle around the disparity between both outlooks.
From Publishers Weekly
Sowell, an economist and author (The Economics and Politics of Race, etc.), presents a provocative analysis of the conflicting visions of human nature that have shaped the moral, legal and economic life of recent times.
For the past 200 years, he writes, two visions ofor "gut feelings" abouthow the world works, have dominated: the constrained vision, which views man as unchanged, limited and dependent on evolved social processes (market economies, constitutional law, etc.); and the unconstrained vision, which argues for man's potential and perfectability, and the possibility of rational planning for social solutions.
Examining the views of thinkers who reflect these constrained (Adam Smith) and unconstrained (William Godwin) visions, Sowell shows how these powerful and subjective visions give rise to carefully constructed social theories.
His discussion of how these conflicting attitudes ultimately produce clashes over equality, social justice and other issues is instructive.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
This latest work by Sowell examines two competing visions which shape our debates about the nature of reason, justice, equality, and power. These visions are the "constrained" vision, which sees human nature as unchanging and selfish, and the "unconstrained" vision, in which human nature is malleable and perfectible. The book builds a convincing case that ethical and policy disputes are ultimately based on the differences in these visions.
It covers a wide variety of political, philosophical, and economic thought. Although occasionally abstract, this volume is an important contribution to our understanding of current social issues. Recommended for large public and all college and university libraries. Richard C. Schiming, Economics Dept., Mankato State Univ., Minn.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This book is about the great moral issues underlying many of the headline-making political controversies of our times. It is not a comforting book but a book about disturbing and dangerous trends. The Quest for Cosmic Justice shows how confused conceptions of justice end up promoting injustice, how confused conceptions of equality end up promoting inequality, and how the tyranny of social visions prevents many people from confronting the actual consequences of their own beliefs and policies. Those consequences include the steady and dangerous erosion of fundamental principles of freedom -- amounting to a quiet repeal of the American revolution.
The Quest for Cosmic Justice is the summation of a lifetime of study and thought about where we as a society are headed -- and why we need to change course before we do irretrievable damage.