Raised as an Orthodox Jew, Milton Friedman wrote almost nothing about Jews and Judaism, with the exception of a paper entitled “Capitalism and the Jews,” delivered three times and printed four times. To help explain the paradox that although Jews have benefited hugely from capitalism, they have been among its leading opponents, Friedman turned to Werner Sombart’s controversial The Jews and Modern Capitalism. After summarizing and appraising Friedman’s conclusions, I take up the charges of two critics. Friedman, unsurprisingly, was attacked for his reliance on Sombart’s book. I reconsider The Jews and Modern Capitalism, and Friedman’s use of it, in light of the conclusions of one of Friedman’s critics, ironically, Jerry Z. Muller, and those of Maristella Botticini and Zvi Eckstein, Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending, Michael Toch, and Simon Kuznets.
Jeff Lipkes; “Capitalism and the Jews”: Milton Friedman and His Critics. History of Political Economy 1 April 2019; 51 (2): 193–236. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182702-7368836
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