Sunday, March 26, 2006

Torah vs. Capitalism

We see that many commandments in the Torah seem to have negative unintended consequences. For example the prohibition on interest is one which given human nature leads to less money being loaned. So I would say that three bedrocks of free-market capitalism run afoul of the Torah’s command. 1. Charging interest is a key need of capitalism because without interest no bank (and there would be no banks) will lend money to a company if it has no prospect of gain. 2. Cut-throat competition is a major part of a free-market as is obvious. The Torah, however, says that it is forbidden to drop prices to drive another store out of business. 3. The third prohibition is that of Loshon Hara our system requires circulation of information good and bad. Loshon Hara forbids this except in cases of personal need. However, even with no personal need having negative information widely known is important. The interesting common denominators of these commandments are that they can be done to non-Jews. It seems that G-d only requires us to sacrifice are economic wellbeing for other Jews. No utopian vision is needed when dealing with people of different faiths.


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