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What Does Judaism Think of Capitalism?

July 22, 2014

The Gospels proclaim that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, meaning Christian doctrine holds that salvation is more difficult for the wealthy man. Judaism doesn’t seem to have the same antipathy toward wealth. But wealth is not the same thing as capitalism. Capitalism is a moral system and it has as its byproduct a kind of cosmopolitanism that corrodes reverence and tradition. During Tikvah’s advanced institute on “Liberalism, Conservatism, and the Jews,” Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, Mida editor Ran Baratz, Hoover Institution scholar Peter Berkowitz, and Tikvah’s executive director Eric Cohen confronted what it is about capitalism that Judaism should applaud and what it should condemn.

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