Jewish Ethics, The State, and Economic Freedom

Tamari Meir

in The Oxford Handbook of Judaism and Economics

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195398625
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Jewish Ethics, The State, and Economic Freedom


The objective of this chapter is to investigate the balance between private property and economic freedom needed for wealth formation, on the one hand, and morality and communal justice, on the other. The state, Jewish ethics, and economic freedom are the main components of this article. Wealth creation, preservation, and transference to future generations are fundamental necessities of human existence. Fittingly, it has been the focus of religious, political, and philosophical thought, and social movements since the beginning of time. This article proceeds to state that Judaism does not see poverty as spiritual or desirable, nor the creation or increase of private individual wealth as evil or immoral. Because of Judaism's insistence on the legitimacy of economic activity and the essential reality of private property, both of these two causes of economic immorality require the constraint of enough. This article concludes by saying that the recognition of moral and social responsibilities is required to stabilize society.

Keywords: Jewish ethics; economic freedom; wealth creation; morality; Judaism

Article.  3456 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Public Economics

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