Capitalism and the Jews

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9780691144788: Capitalism and the Jews


The unique historical relationship between capitalism and the Jews is crucial to understanding modern European and Jewish history. But the subject has been addressed less often by mainstream historians than by anti-Semites or apologists. In this book Jerry Muller, a leading historian of capitalism, separates myth from reality to explain why the Jewish experience with capitalism has been so important and complex--and so ambivalent.


Drawing on economic, social, political, and intellectual history from medieval Europe through contemporary America and Israel, Capitalism and the Jews examines the ways in which thinking about capitalism and thinking about the Jews have gone hand in hand in European thought, and why anticapitalism and anti-Semitism have frequently been linked. The book explains why Jews have tended to be disproportionately successful in capitalist societies, but also why Jews have numbered among the fiercest anticapitalists and Communists. The book shows how the ancient idea that money was unproductive led from the stigmatization of usury and the Jews to the stigmatization of finance and, ultimately, in Marxism, the stigmatization of capitalism itself. Finally, the book traces how the traditional status of the Jews as a diasporic merchant minority both encouraged their economic success and made them particularly vulnerable to the ethnic nationalism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


Providing a fresh look at an important but frequently misunderstood subject, Capitalism and the Jews will interest anyone who wants to understand the Jewish role in the development of capitalism, the role of capitalism in the modern fate of the Jews, or the ways in which the story of capitalism and the Jews has affected the history of Europe and beyond, from the medieval period to our own.


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"This learned and suggestive little volume distills two centuries of wisdom concerning Jews and capitalism into four provocative essays. Drawing freely upon economic history, Jewish history, and the history of ideas, Jerry Muller moves deftly from European thinkers to Jewish traders and from Communists to nationalists. Along the way, he dispenses fresh insights, little known information, and much common sense concerning issues too often shrouded in myth, bigotry, ideology, and apologetics."--Jonathan D. Sarna, Brandeis University


"This book was hard to put down. It is a pleasure to read a work so provocative, so relevant, and so deeply informed."--Daniel Chirot, University of Washington


"This is a magisterial work. It traces the relation of Jews to capitalism from the early modern period to the contemporary world, placing it in the context of the development of modernity's political institutions and culture. This book will be indispensable reading for anyone interested in Jewish history, but also for those seeking to understand the overall drama of modernity."--Peter L. Berger, professor emeritus, Boston University


"This is a superb and enlightening book."--Andrei Markovits, University of Michigan


"Jerry Muller has written an indispensable book correcting myriad misperceptions about capitalism, the Jews, and the affinities between them. He treats troubling subjects such as the relation of Jews to Communism and the persistence of anti-Semitism with exceptional delicacy and common sense. If clarification could bring about correction, this compressed historical account would do much to 'repair the world.'"--Ruth R. Wisse, Harvard University


About the Author:

Jerry Z. Muller is professor of history at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. His previous books include "Adam Smith in His Time and Ours" (Princeton). His writing has appeared in the "Wall Street Journal", the "New Republic", and the "Times Literary Supplement", among other publications.

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Muller, Jerry Z.
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Descripción Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2010. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. 272 pages. Hardcover with dustjacket. New book. JEWISH STUDIES. The unique historical relationship between capitalism and the Jews is crucial to understanding modern European and Jewish history. But the subject has been addressed less often by mainstream historians than by anti-Semites or apologists. In this book Jerry Muller, a leading historian of capitalism, separates myth from reality to explain why the Jewish experience with capitalism has been so important and complex - and so ambivalent. Drawing on economic, social, political, and intellectual history from medieval Europe through contemporary America and Israel, Capitalism and the Jews examines the ways in which thinking about capitalism and thinking about the Jews have gone hand in hand in European thought, and why anticapitalism and anti-Semitism have frequently been linked. The book explains why Jews have tended to be disproportionately successful in capitalist societies, but also why Jews have numbered among the fiercest anticapitalists and Communists. The book shows how the ancient idea that money was unproductive led from the stigmatization of usury and the Jews to the stigmatization of finance and, ultimately, in Marxism, the stigmatization of capitalism itself. Finally, the book traces how the traditional status of the Jews as a diasporic merchant minority both encouraged their economic success and made them particularly vulnerable to the ethnic nationalism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Providing a fresh look at an important but frequently misunderstood subject, Capitalism and the Jews will interest anyone who wants to understand the Jewish role in the development of capitalism, the role of capitalism in the modern fate of the Jews, or the ways in which the story of capitalism and the Jews has affected the history of Europe and beyond, from the medieval period to our own. Jerry Z. Muller is professor of history at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. His previous books include Adam Smith in His Time and Ours (Princeton). His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New Republic, and the Times Literary Supplement, among other publications. "In his slim essay collection Capitalism and the Jews, Jerry Z. Muller presents a provocative and accessible survey of how Jewish culture and historical accident ripened Jews for commercial success and why that success has earned them so much misfortune. . . . While this book is ostensibly about 'the Jews,' Muller's most chilling insights are about their enemies, and the creative, almost supernatural, malleability of anti-Semitism itself. For centuries, poverty, paranoia and financial illiteracy have combined into a dangerous brew--one that has made economic virtuosity look suspiciously like social vice." - Catherine Rampell, New York Times Book Review "In four fascinating essays, Muller sensitively examines how centuries of nomadism and diaspora have shaped Jewish financial life. . . . Muller backs up his bold assertion--that capitalism has been the most important force in shaping the fate of the Jews in the modern world--with elegance and care." - Publishers Weekly "It's a subject rarely given its due in respectable circles. Yet an appreciation for market economics does run deep in Judaic tradition and helps explain the prominence of Jewish bankers, from Mayer Amschel Rothschild to Lloyd Blankfein. In concise prose free of academic jargon, Muller ticks off factors that gave Jews what he calls 'behavioral traits conducive to success in capitalist society.'" - Calev Ben-David, Bloomberg "Muller, a noted historian, takes a fascinating look at how Jews have shaped capitalism and how capitalism has shaped the Jewish experience from medieval times to today."--Fareed Zakaria, GPS (Key Words: Jerry Z. Muller, Capitalism, Jews, Judaica, Jewish Studies, Marxism, Anti-Semitism). book. Nº de ref. de la librería 72744X1

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Muller, Jerry Z.
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Descripción Princeton University Press. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. 0691144788 New Condition. Nº de ref. de la librería NEW7.0273132

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Descripción Princeton University Press, 2010. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería DADAX0691144788

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