By Jerry Z. Muller
The distinct ancient dating among capitalism and the Jews is important to realizing glossy eu and Jewish heritage. however the topic has been addressed much less frequently via mainstream historians than by way of anti-Semites or apologists. during this e-book Jerry Muller, a number one historian of capitalism, separates fantasy from fact to give an explanation for why the Jewish adventure with capitalism has been so very important and complex--and so ambivalent.
Drawing on financial, social, political, and highbrow historical past from medieval Europe via modern the US and Israel, Capitalism and the Jews examines the ways that brooding about capitalism and considering the Jews have long past hand in hand in eu suggestion, and why anticapitalism and anti-Semitism have usually been associated. The ebook explains why Jews have tended to be disproportionately winning in capitalist societies, but additionally why Jews have numbered one of the fiercest anticapitalists and Communists. The publication exhibits how the traditional concept that cash used to be unproductive led from the stigmatization of usury and the Jews to the stigmatization of finance and, eventually, in Marxism, the stigmatization of capitalism itself. ultimately, the booklet strains how the normal prestige of the Jews as a diasporic service provider minority either inspired their monetary good fortune and made them quite liable to the ethnic nationalism of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Providing a clean examine a huge yet often misunderstood topic, Capitalism and the Jews will curiosity somebody who desires to comprehend the Jewish function within the improvement of capitalism, the position of capitalism within the smooth destiny of the Jews, or the ways that the tale of capitalism and the Jews has affected the heritage of Europe and past, from the medieval interval to our personal.
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Additional resources for Capitalism and the Jews
For Marx, the market represents the universalization of particular interests. If, in a capitalist society, Christians too are egoistic and particularistic, then the fact that Christianity is more universalistic than Judaism ceases to matter. Not only religious difference is to be overcome: all self-interest, individual and group, is to be eliminated. indd 39 39 11/2/2009 1:31:26 PM Bauer’s claim that the Jews are devoid of interest in higher culture, in philosophy, in man as an end in himself. True enough, Marx says.
23 Underlying the condemnation of merchants and moneylenders was the assumption that only those whose labor produced sweat really worked and produced. As Francis Bacon noted in his essay “Of Usury” (1612), it was widely believed that usurers were drones, and that they violated the biblical injunction that after the Fall man would live by the sweat of his brow. Most people simply could not imagine that production might be increased by the decision to invest resources in one place rather than another, with one person rather than another, in one commodity rather than another.
2 Montesquieu drew a direct line between the stigmatization of usury and economic backwardness. He regarded the decline of commerce in the Middle Ages as one of the great misfortunes of European history. And he attributed that misfortune to the interpretation of usury by medieval Catholics theologians. “We owe all the misfortunes that accompanied the destruction of commerce to the speculations of the schoolmen,” he wrote. indd 19 19 11/2/2009 1:31:24 PM necessary part of commerce. ” The result was to make commerce appropriate only for those outside the faith—the Jews—and to turn them into tools of exaction by princes, who in turn oppressed the Jews.
Capitalism and the Jews by Jerry Z. Muller