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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Sowell Says Wabash College's Rogge an Inspiration

The eminent economist and social commentator Thomas Sowell has cited the late Wabash College Professor Ben Rogge as an inspiration.

Sowell's comments were made in an interview with Jason L. Riley of the Wall Street Journal published on the WSJ editorial page on Saturday, March 25th.

Riley wrote: The idea to apply economic concepts to racial issues came, says Mr. Sowell, from the late Benjamin Rogge, who taught economics at Wabash College in Indiana. "I was at Cornell, and Ben Rogge came on campus to give a talk called 'The Welfare State Against the Negro.' I happened to be out of town, so when I got back I wrote him a letter that said I heard you gave this talk and that you're going to write a book on the same theme. I said it's really amazing that no one's thought of this before because there's so much material out there. At this point [in the late '60's] I had no thought that I would ever touch it myself."

The two became friends over the years and "it occurred to Ben that he was never going to write that book. And so Ben Rogge took his manuscript and simply handed it to me and said do with it whatever you can. I was flabbergasted. I don't think I ever used anything directly from his manuscript. But the fundamental idea that you could apply economics to racial issues - that was the inspiration."

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