Economics Lecture Two
Only one miracle during Jesus's ministry is mentioned in all four Gospels, and it is referenced even twice in Mark. It is the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fish to feed the crowd of thousands. It illustrates God easily overcoming the scarcity in food. Think about it: does scarcity really exist, or is it the result of turning away from God? Scarcity seems to be exaggerated the further away a society is from God. The devout Puritans thrived with nothing in the cold New England winters.
As a student astutely suggested last class, economics is the study of the transfer of goods and services. The first obvious question is this: what determines the price and quantity of goods transferred? In other words, how much must a buyer pay for the good (the price), and how many units of the good (the quantity) will the seller be able to sell at that price?
Let's take an example. Suppose you own a candy store, and you sell chocolate candy bars. What price should you use for those candy bars? If you sell them for $1 each, many people will buy them. But if you charge $5 per candy bar, fewer will buy them at that price. Your quantity of goods sold will be much less. If, on the other hand, you sell the candy bars for only 10 cents per bar, you'll sell out quickly as people rush to buy the bars at that low price (perhaps to resell the bars at a higher price and make a profit themselves). It might seem like you'd be happy at selling so many, but you make much less money overall at 10 cents per bar than at $1 per bar. As the candy store owner you're worse off if you set the price at only 10 cents per bar, because you receive too little for each bar, and you're worse off if you set the price at $5 per bar, because you sell too few bars. The best price for you to use for the candy bars is around $1 per bar.
The above analysis applies to the sale of a good (a candy bar), and the same analysis applies to the sale of services (such as a car mechanic selling his car repair services). People sell their time as much as they sell what they own. In this sense, "time is money" because time can be converted into money by spending that time working. You could convert 8 hours of time into about $60 by working at McDonalds, for example.
We could spend the remainder of this course on pricing goods and services. Millions of businesses succeed or fail based on how they price their goods or services. Thousands of transactions affect the pricing of a good or service, so this question is not as simple as it looks. Assumptions have to be made in order to draw conclusions. In some cases, price behavior baffles even the greatest experts in the field.
Price of Stocks
The price of a company’s stock reflects the price at which people are willing to sell it (the supply price) and the price at which other people are willing to buy it (the demand price). A "sale" of the stock occurs only when the supply price equals the demand price.
Stock prices on the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ (the stock exchange for new and often high-tech companies) are determined entirely by the “bid” and “ask” prices of the buyers and sellers. Someone will “bid” a certain amount to buy a stock, and a seller will “ask” for a certain price. When the bid and ask amounts equal, then a sales transaction occurs. Prices can move very quickly and unpredictably when millions of people are involved. When the overall trend of most stocks from day-to-day is an increase in their prices, then it is known as a "bull market"; when the overall trend of stocks from day-to-day decreases in price, then it is known as a "bear market." You can remember that by thinking of how bears are scary, and stock markets that crash in price are scary things.
As explained above, the price that a stock trades on the exchange is where the “supply” by sellers equals the “demand” by buyers. When a seller of stock asks too high a price, then there are no buyers and the stock does not trade. When a buyer of stock offers to pay too little a price, then there are no sellers at that low price and the stock does not trade. The transaction (trade) occurs only when SUPPLY EQUALS DEMAND.
This important principle of transactions occurring where "supply meets demand" is the most basic concept in all of economics. Let's discuss it further.
Supply and Demand
The supply of a good is how much of it (the quantity), and at what price, is provided by a seller of the good. Grocery stores, factories, malls, amazon.com, and candy stores all supply goods. Services, like entertainment, are supplied by Hollywood, Major League Baseball, the NFL and also doctors, lawyers, accountants, and so on. The supply side consists of the producers, providers and sellers of goods and services.
The demand for a good is how much of it, and at what price, is wanted by the public seeking to buy it. Shoppers, moviegoers, baseball and football fans, and people needing medical care, are on the demand side. Often buyers of goods and services are called "consumers".
For any given good or service, there is a supply and demand. The supply can be described in terms of the possible production of different quantities at different prices. The demand can be described separately as the willingness of the public to purchase different quantities at different prices. The price is the key to both the supply and demand side; it is the price that determines the quantity transacted.
No company can afford to build cars (supply them) if the sales price is only $1. But at a sales price of $30,000, a vast number of cars can be built. The cause is price, and the effect is quantity.
The demand for a good is also described in terms of price and quantity. At a given price, there is a specific quantity demanded by the public for the good. A billion people might buy a car if the price were only $1 (unrealistic). At a much higher price of $30,000, the demand drops to a quantity of only millions sold (realistic). At a still higher price of more than $100,000, the demand falls much further to the range of only a few thousand that can be sold (these are the very luxurious cars, like the Lamborghini sports car shown at the right).
Because supply and demand can both be expressed in terms of price and quantity, they can be plotted on the same graph. The y-axis is typically price, and the x-axis is usually quantity. Just memorize this rule and stick with it: price is on the y-axis, and quantity is on the x-axis. This might help you remember: "p" for price is lower in the alphabet than "q" for quantity, and "p" appears first on the graph as one reads from left to right. Put another way, the graph is of "Ps and Qs," in that order from left to right (P on the y-axis to the left, and Q on the x-axis to the right).
The supply curve is always upward sloping: the higher the sales price, the higher the quantity that companies will produce for sale. That is because higher sales prices bring in greater revenue -- and greater profits -- to provide the incentive to increase the supply quantity.
The demand curve is always downward sloping: the higher the sales price, the lower the quantity the public is willing to buy. Few people will buy a candy bar if it costs $5: if that price is lowered to $2, then more people will want to buy it, and if its price is lowered to $1, then even more will want to buy it, and if its price is lowered to 50 cents, then the demand by the public for that candy bar will be even greater. As the price for something goes down, the demand goes up. That results in a downward-sloping demand curve: as the price goes down the slope of the curve, the quantity demanded (sought) by the public goes up (see the curve labeled "Demand" on the graph below).
The supply and demand form the most basic relationship in all of economics. They are independent of each other, but are placed on the same graph so that it becomes easy to find "equilibrium": the point where supply and demand have the same value for their price, and the same value for their quantity (the point of the intersection of their curves).
If the price is higher than the equilibrium price, then there will be unsold goods due to fewer people wanting to pay the higher price. The sellers then need to lower their price in order to sell these leftover or unsold goods, and that forces the price downward to the equilibrium price. Conversely, if the price is lower than the equilibrium price, then the sellers will not have enough goods to satisfy the higher demand by the public. The sellers will then increase their price (and their revenue) to take advantage of the higher demand. These market forces both above and below the equilibrium price are what push the final price to the point where the supply curve intersects the demand curve. At this point the price and quantity for the supply are precisely equal to the price and quantity for the demand.
The supply and demand curves usually look like this:
In the graph above, P* and Q* are the price and quantity at which the good is sold, or the equilibrium price and quantity.
The point where supply equals demand can be found either by graphing the two curves and seeing the point of intersection or, if you have the equation for each curve, by solving the equations algebraically. For example, if the supply curve is P = 100 + Q and the demand curve is P = 500 - Q, then the point of intersection can be found by solving these two equations: when the P in the first equation equals the P in the second equation, then 100 + Q = 500 - Q, thus 2Q = 400, and thus Q = 200. From there you can solve for P by plugging Q back into one of the two original equations:
P = 500 - 200 = 300. You can check this answer by plugging Q into the other original equation to confirm that you get the same P = 100 + 200 = 300. So the final answer -- the point where supply equals demand -- is P=300, Q=200.
Changes in Supply and Demand
The above model for supply and demand helps us to consider the effect of changes or shifts in supply and demand. First consider an increase in demand by the public for a particular good, from demand curve 1 (D1) to demand curve 2 (D2):
An increase in demand causes the price to rise from P1 to P2. The new equilibrium is at a point with higher price and greater quantity than before. What could cause an increase in demand? For gasoline, more people driving would cause an increase in demand. For heating oil, a colder winter would cause an increase in demand. For sports entertainment, a close rivalry (as in a close pennant race between the Yankees and Red Sox) can cause an increase in demand (spectators). In all these cases, price and quantity tend to rise. Conversely, if there is a decrease in demand by the public, then the opposite is generally true: prices and quantity decrease.
Next consider an increase in supply by the producers. Suppose farmers have better weather, for example, causing more crops at the harvest. Or suppose there is discovery of huge new oil reserves underground. Or suppose a new invention, such as Eli Whitney’s cotton gin, increases the production of a good (cotton). This curve shows what happens when there is an increase in supply, from supply curve S1 to supply curve S2:
Can you interpret that? When the supply curve shifted to the right as supply increased, the price decreased but the quantity increased. The new equilibrium is at a lower price and greater quantity than before. Consumers are happier as supply increases. The discovery of new oil reserves, or inventions like the cotton gin, make consumers (the public) better off.
Example: The Tyndale Bible
The Tyndale Bible was an illegal translation of portions of the Bible into English, the first high-quality English translation that was based on the ancient Greek. King Henry VIII and the Catholic Church prohibited translations of the Bible into English, preferring instead continued use of the Latin Vulgate, the translation into Latin done by Jerome around A.D. 400. William Tyndale, however, studied the Bible in its original Hebrew and Greek, and by the age of 30 he vowed to translate it into English so that, in his words, "a boy that driveth the plough" knows "more of Scripture than" the clergy. Tyndale fled England to Germany and secretly completed his translation of the New Testament from Greek into English in 1525 (shortly after Martin Luther translated the Bible into German). While in Germany, Tyndale arranged for the printing of his English translation, and for the sale of his printed copies to the public in England.
Demand by the public in England was high for this Bible, but the supply was low due to limitations of the printing press and the opposition by the authorities. High demand and low supply cause this: a high price. The King and church authorities began buying up copies of this Bible in Europe to keep it out of the hands of the public, but often had to pay the "market price" to buy up the copies. This money then went to the printers and provided the funds for them to pay for the printing of more Tyndale Bibles, and 15,000 copies were printed between 1525 and 1530. This effect of supply and demand made it difficult -- perhaps impossible -- to censor and suppress this English Bible.
Supply and demand comprise a very powerful force, stronger than any individual or government. Over time, supply and demand prevail, and ultimately the authorities approved an English translation of the Bible, leading to the printing of the magnificent King James Version (which was very similar to the Tyndale Bible) less than a century later, in 1611. But the unstoppable effect of supply and demand did not occur soon enough to help Tyndale himself. He kept improving his translation of the New Testament (his final version was completed in 1635) and also worked on completing his own translation of the Old Testament. But he was captured in what is now Belgium before he could translate all of the Old Testament. His last words just prior to his execution as a heretic in 1536 were these: "Lord, open the king of England's eyes." His assistant, Miles Coverdale, finished Tyndale's translation of the Old Testament and published the complete English Bible in 1537. The King then approved it.
But years after King Henry VIII split from Rome and founded the Church of England, the English Parliament passed a law in 1543 that censored English Bibles again, prohibited unlicensed reading of Scriptures in public, and caused English Bibles to be burned in London and translators to be arrested (one translator was executed, but Coverdale fled to Geneva, where John Calvin was). The free market had more work to do before it prevailed.
The "Free Market"
The interaction of supply and demand is what we call the "market". The "free market" is the interaction of supply and demand without any interference or control by government. The dictionary definition states that the "free market" is "an economic market operating by free competition."
The free market drives down prices, which helps the poor enormously. It is the free market that makes the Bible and food and communications inexpensive for the poor, and which helps bring Christian missionaries to serve the poor in faraway places. The following example illustrates how the free market has made air travel available to the poor, and available to others in order to help the poor.
In the 1960s and 1970s, government set the prices for airline tickets, and only the wealthy could afford to travel by plane. Then, in 1978, Congress "deregulated" the airplane industry, which allowed the free market to set the prices based on supply and demand. The benefits were tremendous in enabling far more Americans to be able to afford air travel:
- Airfares, when adjusted for inflation, have fallen 25 percent since 1991, and ... are 22 percent lower than they would have been had regulation continued. Since passenger deregulation in 1978, airline prices have fallen 44.9 percent in real terms according to the Air Transport Association. ... [W]hen figures are adjusted for changes in quality and amenities, passengers save $19.4 billion dollars per year from airline deregulation.
As the above example illustrates, the free market lowers costs for the poor. Wal-Mart is another example of this, as it provides goods at lower and lower prices for everyone. This is very helpful to the poor. Someone can have no money, or lose all his money, and yet if he tries then he can live nearly as well as the wealthiest man in the nation -- if the free market exists to drive down prices and provide equal opportunity. Where the free market does not exist -- as in many countries of the world -- then the poor may go hungry and otherwise suffer, because prices are too high and opportunities are too limited for the poor to improve their lives. Thus one of the best ways to help the poor is to provide them with the free market in order to lower prices and increase opportunities for them.
The free market can have a politically beneficial effect also. The free market is a powerful force against tyranny. Government cannot easily control and limit free market supply and demand -- as discussed above, not even all the king's horses and all the king's men, and all the church authorities, could stop the Tyndale Bible.
So the next time you're flat broke without any job and facing a hopeless economic situation, remember this: you still have the free market, the most powerful tool of all. Put it to work for you. The free market is a hardworking servant.
What Supply and Demand Are Not
In learning what something is, it sometimes helps to learn what it is not. Put another way, listing what is irrelevant to an important concept can help illuminate what that concept really means.
The preference of any single individual, such as yourself, is nearly irrelvant to the public supply and demand. You may dislike the Yankees, but your own view is less than a "drop in the bucket" compared to the view of the public. Similarly, the opinion of the wealthiest person in the world does not affect supply and demand any more than the opinion of the poorest person can, in a free market. Wealthy people may avoid Wal-Mart, but that did not keep it from becoming the richest and most successful store in the world. Supply and demand transcend and are above the views, preferences, and buying habits of any individual or small group of people. Supply and demand are like a massive ocean that's not going to change based on what a few people do.
Note also that supply and demand do not care who a person is or what his background may be. The store owner sells a chocolate candy bar for the same price to the richest man in the world as to the poorest man in the world. The President pays the same price as the most disliked person in town. Supply and demand, and the free market, treat everyone fairly and equally. Supply and demand do not care about someone's status in society. The free market is independent and above prejudice. A restaurant owner is just as happy to serve, and makes the same amount of money from, the most disliked person in society as the owner makes from the most popular person in society.
It is worth noting other irrelevancies to the free market. The "market price" set by supply and demand is often unrelated to the historical cost of the good. Someone may have paid $300,000 for his house in 2006, when houses were high in value, but the market price for that same house in 2009 may be only $200,000. When that person tries to sell his house in 2009 it does not matter what he paid for it in 2006. All that matters is what the supply and demand for that house is at the time he tries to sell it.
The free market and supply and demand are similar to a sports competition. It really doesn't matter how many trophies one team may have won in prior years, or who likes which side better, or who thinks which side should win. All that matters is which team is better on game day. Likewise, all that matters to setting the price in a free market is the supply and demand at the time of sale. In some ways that might seem harsh if it causes someone to lose money, just as it can be sad when someone trains extremely hard to win a match, but is defeated in an upset by someone nobody likes. But in other ways this is fair, because it gives full opportunity for someone to do well no matter who he is and no matter where he comes from. As long as the seller obtains the free market price, he does not care who the buyer is.
The important concept of “equilibrium” arises frequently in economics. It is similar to the concept of equilibrium in chemistry, as in chemical reactions. The term “equilibrium” means a state of balance between opposing forces. It is a settling down. In a tug of war between opposing teams, “equilibrium” would be where the rope is stationary with each side pulling an equal amount on it. But usually one side wins in a tug of war, so that is not the best example. A better example of an “equilibrium” is when you have eaten just enough to satisfy your hunger, and not too much to make you feel bloated or nauseous. You are then in “equilibrium” between hunger and overeating. If you're still hungry then you eat more; once you are "full", you stop eating until later.
“Equilibrium” is “where things are going” or where they have already arrived. Economic equilibrium is when all the imbalances in the forces of selling and buying have disappeared and a perfect balance between the sellers' desire to make more money (that's like hunger) and the buyers' desire to pay as little as possible (that's like not eating). When the market has reached a balance between these two powerful, opposing forces, then it is equilibrium. The opposing forces of the sellers trying to make money and the buyers trying to keep money are what "drive" the price to its equilibrium level, like a tug of war.
When there is perfect competition, then the ultimate equilibrium is when the marginal revenue to the seller (the extra dollar that he charges and receives as revenue) equals his marginal cost in producing the good (the extra dollar he paid to produce the good). At that point the seller's marginal profit (the extra dollar that he can keep after paying his costs) has fallen to zero and he has no incentive to produce any more goods. In other words, the supplier keeps producing more and more goods only until his marginal profit on each extra good falls to zero such that he does not make any more money by selling additional quantity.
That decline of marginal profit towards zero is due to the inevitable difficulties in selling additional goods. For example, the first SUV produced by Ford could sell at a high price, but Ford does not want to get stuck with making too many SUVs and not being able to sell them at a profit. Ford doesn’t want to make any more SUVs in a given year that it might have to take a loss on. Ford keeps producing SUVs only until its marginal revenue falls to its marginal cost, and its marginal profit falls to zero. Do not worry if you do not completely understand these last two paragraphs; we'll discuss this again in greater detail in a future lecture.
Discussion: the National Debate over Health Care
By far the single biggest industry in the United States is health care (medical care). It represents a massive one-sixth of our entire economy -- including annual expenditures of more than $2.2 trillion -- and costs are increasing each year. It has three major components: government-controlled (Medicare and Medicaid), insurance-controlled, and private pay or uninsured. Many are unhappy with our system, yet it is in many ways the best in the world. For example, the survival rate for the most prevalent form of cancer in men -- prostate cancer -- is 92% in the United States, but the survival rate for the same disease in England is only 51% under its government-controlled system.
Most other countries have some form of government-controlled, or socialized, medicine. In the countries of Canada, North Korea and Cuba, it is actually illegal to pay money to a doctor simply to see you. You can see only a doctor paid by the government in those countries. In England, there is a two-tiered system: good care is provided to the few who can afford to pay for it, and free but inferior care is provided by the government to the vast majority who cannot. This government-controlled medical care became law in England due to hardships created by World War II, when the government was controlling most of the English economy. The English accepted government control of medicine just as they accepted government control and rationing (see discussion of rationing below) of nearly everything else.
If an elderly Canadian is vacationing in Florida and falls and breaks her hip, which is very painful, the Canadian system of health care will not even reimburse the patient for surgery at the nearest hospital. Instead, the patient must fly back to Canada in excruciating pain to be operated on by a government-controlled doctor there.
In the United States, under the free market, anyone can pay his own money for medical care at any time. For example, there is an immediate care, cash-based doctors' office within a half-mile of our classroom. But in Canada, someone with an illness is typically put on a waiting list and, depending on his age and likelihood of survival, may not see a doctor for months. In some cases, patients pass away before they obtain the treatment they need. The Canadian government sets limits on wages and prices, and that causes shortages because there is always less supply when the price is artificially lowered by government control. (Look again at the shape of the supply curve: at lower P, there is lower Q).
Lowering the wages and prices prevents supply from rising to satisfy demand. Then demand is much greater than supply, and patients have to wait a long time to see a doctor. There is a lower survival rate from cancer in Canada than the United States because of the delays in diagnosis and treatment in Canada. In Buffalo, which is on the Canadian border, doctors treat many Canadians who come over the border to pay for American medical care now rather than wait for it in Canada.
This limiting of supply by government-set pricing causes what is known as "rationing". More people want the service (a medical operation or treatment) than is available. A waiting list is created to handle the surplus in demand over supply. But when someone has a cancer growing inside of him, delay by being placed on a waiting list can be agonizing and deadly. Quick treatment helps improve survival from cancer. In the United States, where government does not set all prices and there is not any rationing yet, the survival rate for five common forms of cancer is over 90%. Thanks to the powerful benefits of the free market, the rate of survival continues to improve in the United States.
But in Scotland, the birthplace of Adam Smith and his theory of the invisible hand in 1776, the survival rate from cancer under government-controlled medicine has fallen to "the worst in Europe, lagging behind countries such as Poland and Slovenia. ... Cancer experts blamed ... long waiting lists for the poor results."
A free market in health care benefits children too. The life expectancy for a child born with cystic fibrosis in the United States is 37 years, but only 27 years in Ireland under its government-controlled (or nationalized) health care.
Currently there is a massive national debate over the future of health care in America. The Democratic proposal includes a "public option," which would be a government-controlled health insurance program analogous to the Post Office. In addition to the public option, the proposal would require everyone to purchase a government-approved insurance plan, even though it may not cover the medical services they want. Certain government-defined health benefits, like abortion and even sex-change operations, may be included in that insurance plan despite people's objections. Health care would probably be rationed, as in England, by government panels deciding who should receive it.
Sarah Palin, the Republican Vice Presidential candidate in 2008, made this famous remark in the summer of 2009 against the plan:
- The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.
In conclusion, there are problems with the existing health care in America: costs are too high, many cannot obtain insurance, and cures for some conditions like paralysis are not being developed soon enough. But is the solution to these problems more use of the free market, or more government control?
Read the lecture, and reread any section that you did not fully understand. Complete the homework assignments through the level in which you choose to participate in this course:
1. The supply of a good, and the demand for that good, determine both the ______ and ______ at which the good is sold (assuming it is a free market).
2. Suppose the price demand curve for a particular good is P = $30 - Q, where P is the price and Q is the quantity. Also suppose the price supply curve is P = $6 + Q. At which price and quantity will the good be sold (assuming a free market)?
3. When the supply of a good or service increases, such as increasing the number of oil wells, what happens to the market price of oil? Explain. When the demand for a good a good or service increases, such more people driving cars that need gasoline (refined oil), what happens to the market price of oil? Explain.
4. Why do grocery stores lower the price of their fruit (such as grapes) when they have an oversupply of ripened fruit? Explain by citing the downward slope of a demand curve, and describe what happens to this fruit after the grocery store lowers its price.
5. When the New York Yankees built their new $1.5 billion ballpark, they made a decision about how many "obstructed view" bleacher seats to include. Due to the design of this new stadium, people sitting in these bleacher seats could not see all of the field because part of the stadium structure blocks part of their view. Here is what the supply and demand are for those obstructed-view seats:
|Quantity of "Obstructed-View" Tickets||Demand Price/Ticket||Supply Price/Ticket|
(A) How many "obstructed view" bleacher seats did the New York Yankees build, based on the above data, and how much does the team make from sales of these tickets at each game?
(B) Suppose the City of New York passed a law for a maximum price (a "price control") of $2 per "obstructed view" bleacher ticket. Will the obstructed-view seats sell out under this law, and will people have to wait in line in order to buy them? Would you oppose or support such a law, and why?
6. "Time is money." Explain. Or, as an alternative, improve on our definition of a "free market." Or, as a third alternative, explain how the free market is so much powerful than even the wealthiest people in the world.
7. Explain why waiting lists develop in countries (like Canada and England) where the government prohibits anyone from charging more than fixed prices for medical services, assuming that these fixed prices are lower than what the prices would be under supply and demand in the free market. (Hint: the reason is related to the effect of price controls on the supply of a good or service.)
Write an essay of about 300 words total on one or more of the following topics:
8. Discuss the effect of supply and demand and the Tyndale Bible.
9. Relate the supply and demand curves to the basic economic concept of scarcity. For a good that has no scarcity, such as air, are there any supply and demand curves that are meaningful? Discuss.
10. Discuss any aspect of the economics of health care.
11. How are the forces of supply and demand and the free market helpful to someone who might otherwise be an social outcast and victim of prejudice in a community? In addition or alternatively, discuss the social benefits of a "free market" more generally.
12. Compare "equilibrium" in economics to "equilibrium" in other fields (such as chemistry or physics) or in life itself (such the flow of traffic on highways), using specific examples.
- You might think it would be more natural to place the price on the x-axis and the quantity on the y-axis, since the price is more of the "cause" and quantity is more of the "effect", particularly for the buyer. But economists often do things slightly backwards! P is always on the y-axis and quantity on the x-axis, and just memorize that.
- The dictionary (Merriam Webster's Collegiate 10th Edition) tells us that an "equilibrium" is "a state of balance between opposing forces" - in this case, the opposing forces of the supplier wanting a higher price, and the public (consumers) wanting a lower price.
- Merriam Webster's Collegiate Tenth Edition (1994).
- http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/AirlineDeregulation.html (emphasis added, citation omitted).
- Thomas Sowell is a prominent African American economist who consistently supports free market solutions to health care and other problems.