Shabbat Nugget – Capitalism vs. Socialism

We are all familiar with the two models of economics, socialism and capitalism.

America is a proud capitalistic country.  We scorn the limitations that socialism places on people and we like to point out how countries that have socialism are doomed for failure as we have seen with the former Soviet Union.

However, the question is, while it is obvious that capitalism has many advantages, does the system of capitalism work to bring prosperity and well being to the majority of people?

A recent study concluded that by the year 2030, 64% of the world’s wealth will be owned by 1% of the world’s population.  Does that seem fair or healthy to you?

In this week’s Torah portion, we learn about what might be the Torah’s solution to the above dilemma.

The Torah teaches us about the Jubilee year which is designated to be every fiftieth year.  One of the laws regarding this year is that is a person who sold land throughout this fifty years period, he gets it back free of charge on the Jubilee year.  (This law applies also to various other sales).

While we never really can comprehend the total reasoning behind G-d’s commandments, nevertheless, it seems obvious that this commandment tries to create a balance in society and does not allow for a small fraction of society to take control of the rest of the society.

Perhaps it would be healthy for our society to have discussions about what can be done to have more economic balance in our society.

About Rabbi Pesach Scheiner

Rabbi Pesach Scheiner is the Rabbi of Boulder County Center for Judaism. In addition, he teaches extensively throughout Boulder County and is the author of "Finding the Joy in Everyday Living," a book of short chapters explaining the ways to access happiness through appreciation, gratitude, and a sense of purpose.

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