Jews Succeeded in the Capitalist World


Professor of History at the Catholic University of America,

Jerry Muller


Ph.D. at Columbia University in 1984. Specialty in Modern European Intellectual History, History of Capitalism. Author of “Capitalism and the Jews”.

There are a couple of things that I’d like you to keep in mind about Israel.
First, as things are now, peace negotiations with the neighboring Arab nations is not realistic. Israel is at odds with many of the adjacent Arab nations, and the situation is extremely unstable. There needs to be a long term commitment in order to achieve peace.

What I might ask Japan to do is to protect Israel from attacks by the Arab nations, and to deepen economic ties with Israel through trade.


The Only Nation in the Middle East where Christians can Live Free

The other important thing is that Israel is the only nation in the Middle Easts where Christians are able to live free. Historically, of course, the Middle East is where Christianity began, and until the emergence of Islam, the region was Christian. Even after Islam strengthened, hundreds of thousands of Christians continued to live in the Middle East. However, as religious conflicts escalated, many of the Christian communities disappeared.

At the moment, 80% of the Israeli population consists of Jews, while the other 20% are Arabs. There is some tension, but for the most part, they are living peacefully. Arabs have citizenship, some even serve as Supreme Court justices or as Israeli Ambassadors, and there aren’t signs of ethnic discrimination in employment.


Jews Succeeded in Finance, Which was Considered to be a Lowly Profession

Let me describe why Jews have been so successful in the modern world. During the middle ages, Jews couldn’t own land or work as craftsmen. They mostly occupied themselves by working in financing, which was considered to be a lowly profession in Islam and in Christianity. But that became the key to success in the modern world. As Capitalism became mainstream, they seized the chance to succeed in financing.

It also helped that Jews were scattered all over the world after their nation was destroyed by the Roman Empire in the 2nd century. Since Jews lived all over the world, they were able to create an international network of trust, which is vital in Capitalism.


Emphasis on Education Provided Literacy from Ancient Times

Education also had a big impact. Historically, Jews have placed great emphasis on education. In order to read the Jewish holy text, the Old Testament, even commoners were able to read and write. Everyone also has respect for books and written texts. These skills and attitudes supported Jewish diligence, and allowed them to thrive in the modern industrial world.

Jews Succeeded in the Capitalist World
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