<After completing undergrad at Harvard and obtaining a master’s in economics, Sowell landed a summer internship with the Department of Labor. While there, he researched the impact of minimum wage law on employment. Sowell learned two things, both of which he found startling.
<First, minimum wage laws create job loss by pricing the unskilled out of the labor force. Second, Sowell discovered that “the people in the labor department really were not interested in that, because the administration of the minimum wage was supplying one-third of the money that was keeping the labor department going. ... I realized that institutions have their own agendas and their own incentives.”
This shouldn't be hard to see as an indictment of an economic system that prioritizes profit over public well-being, instead of how he sees it as evidence of government meddling in an "otherwise healthy" labor market. If attempts to raise wages result in lay-offs, renewed investment in labor-saving technologies/automation, etc., I'd be more upset about the current system being incompatible with providing the majority of people with a comfortable livelihood than the supposedly ineffectual government overreach. Why critique the immiseration of people due to wage hikes as opposed to that caused by the normal, everyday mechanizations of the labor market - which ultimately beget the minimum wage being introduced in the first place (save for the nuance of the labor movement that fought for the minimum wage)?
>A) The geography shapes the society. Mountainous areas are often underdeveloped, lawless and fosters tribalism. Rough areas too, but to a smaller degree.
>B) Ideas can live long after they made sense, if people moves to another area, their ideas can go into full bloom.
>C) It is only when people are faced with the full consequences of their own bad ideas that new ideas can take root.
"A" is only really uncontroversial insofar as we limit what we mean by "shapes the society." Mountains don't determine what kind of government society operates by for example, but have an effect on how many foreigners - with different cultural goods and ideas - interact with that society, or how the culture of that society develops. There's an obvious reason why skiing is more popular in the Alps than it is in Guam. However, to say that geography has a direct input-output effect on the ideas a society upholds is clearly incorrect - geography is not a social process, but an obstacle for other processes like farming, travel, etc. which necessarily must interact with the world.
I say this because "B" and "C" seem to require substantiation regarding how ideas come from a certain area, instead of certain people. Slavery, as a sort of hyperbolic example, did not originate due to a certain climate (and I shouldn't need to point out the obvious that slavery has been "invented" around the world, and did not necessarily require people from "slaving regions" to travel to those "not-yet enslaved, though that did happen). If my understanding of archaeology is correct, slavery originated in direct relation to the invention of agriculture, as the product a person could produce at that point was adequate to not only maintain himself, but to produce a surplus beyond that which he/she needed to consume. This is distinguished from pre-civilization, where generally speaking an individual's labor did not reliably create a surplus beyond that which it took to feed himself, and thus the institution of slavery was underdeveloped.
"C" is a bit laughable. Slavery, monarchism, and a whole slew of other "bad" ideas were not overcome via debate or exposure to their results - in fact, at least to those perpetuating such ideas, the consequences were desirable. For instance, in Haiti slaves were not bestowed with freedom once their captors realized how awful slavery truly was; on the contrary, slave and slaver fought tooth and nail over the ruling "idea" (insofar as whoever controlled Haiti had power over said ruling idea) and freedom was won not through articulation of the slave's plight, but through their "convincing" use of instruments of war.
Perhaps on a micro level, "C" makes some sense. Pro-life protesters, for instance, can be seen trying to do this as they show people disturbing pictures of aborted fetuses, in the same way as anti-war protesters try to spread awareness of atrocities committed by the military. However, on the level of the world stage, "C" doesn't hold water.
I know this was just your summary of some of Sowell's thought, so it shouldn't be taken as a direct criticism of him. Though, it does little to dissuade me from thinking Sowell comes off as little more than an idealist ideologue.