Back to course catalogue

Judaism and the Free Market:
How Biblical Ideas Helped Create the West

Does Jewish tradition have clear ideas about economics—issues like taxes and trade, wealth and poverty, business and entrepreneurship? And what does Jewish history teach us about the nature of capitalism, socialism, and other ways of organizing economic life? While some Jewish thinkers have argued that free market economics are exploitative or unjust, this class will explore an array of mainstream Jewish sources—from the Bible, the Talmud, and other commentators—that point us in a different direction: toward limited government, private property, and economic liberty. We will explore how Jewish ideas helped shaped the emergence of free market societies in the West, and ask what guidance the Jewish way of thinking might offer in our current age of economic turmoil.