“About Economy and Sustenance: Judaism, Society and Economics” by Aharon Ariel Lavi— Economics and Society

Lavi, Aharon Ariel. “About Economy and Sustenance: Judaism, Society and Economics”, ContentoNow, 2016.

Economics and Society

Amos Lassen

It is impossible to look at society without looking at economics since it is one of the strongest forces of said society. There is commercial activity in every purchase, sale, and commercial and even reading a book is an economic activity. Economic activity is what shapes society and we are all aware that there are many ways to manage and examine the economy through ethical decisions on cultural, social and spiritual problems. Here we learn of the contribution of the Jewish cultural world to economic thought and to understanding the structure of society. We find new answers for the most basic questions that shape economic activity and society in general as we look at questions such as “what is property? What is efficiency? What is trade? How do human beings make economic decisions, and how do these concepts dictate the relations between man and material, man and man, and man and God?”

The book is composed of articles written by different authors, of which the majority are leaders in their respective fields. With the coming together of Judaism and reality, there is much to be learned.

This is an eclectic and intellectually engaging selection of essays on Jewish thought and economic life. These theologically constructive explorations have important contributions on both methodological and substantive levels. We live in n era of looking for practical and existential approaches that came to be due to extreme forms of capitalism and collectivism. We see how the Jewish way of life, laws, philosophy, and culture have contributed to economic thinking and the way the world works. The observations that we read here are astute with deep insight. Here is a

discussion on all things financial, and the thoughts within the world “of Jewish and rabbinic literature on creating a sound economy based on empirical evidence as well as moral, Torah-values”. We see how the history of Jewish thought influences the assessment of capitalism and its alternatives. The authors explore their own distinctive arguments and ideas and do not advance a single line of argument about how Jewish thought relates to capitalism. Instead, they leave us with questions to think about and to decide if capitalism is consistent with traditional morality. The basic question is if, “the capitalist economy also be a moral economy”.

Twenty articles regarding the ways in which traditional Jewish theology can deepen our understanding of economic reality are presented and they were collected between 2007 and 2008 in Israel and translated from the original Hebrew.

The first and second sections are the sabbatical year and the “internal structure of society in light of Jewish Mysticism.” The third and final sections are detailed discussions of Halachic approaches to the business world and include topics such as interest rates, welfare, charity, and inheritance laws. We see that on the one hand “extreme capitalism” has generated rapid development at the cost of alienation and devastation of the environment while, on the other hand, we see the contrasting system of “socialism-communism” has often come together with totalitarian methods that have brought about the collapse of entire countries.

 

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