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New Wine in Old Flasks: the Just Price and Price-Controls in Jewish Law

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  • Makovi, Michael

Abstract

The halakhah (Jewish law) includes legislation aiming at might be called “social justice.” These halakhot (pl.) include the laws of ona'ah and hafka'at she'arim / hayyei nefesh – roughly analogous to the famous Medieval “just price” laws – as well as legal restrictions on middlemen and speculators. In the light of modern economics, these Jewish laws, like all attempts at price-fixing, are shown to be self-defeating; the means conflict with the ends sought. The conflict between religion and science is not limited to cosmology and biology, but may include economics as well. It is proposed that the halakhah be modified in such a way as to preserve – as much as possible – the integrity of both the halakhah and economic science alike; when an ethical system makes certain scientific presuppositions, it is sometimes possible to preserve the ethical system by disentangling it from its non-essential scientific presuppositions.

Suggested Citation

  • Makovi, Michael, 2016. "New Wine in Old Flasks: the Just Price and Price-Controls in Jewish Law," MPRA Paper 69119, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:69119
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ephraim Kleiman, 1987. "‘Just price’ in Talmudic Literature," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 23-45, Spring.
    2. Oecd, 2007. "Case Law," Nuclear Law Bulletin, OECD Publishing, vol. 2006(2), pages 37-39.
    3. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
    4. Gordon Tullock, 1971. "The Cost Of Transfers," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(4), pages 629-643, November.
    5. Roback, Jennifer, 1986. "The Political Economy of Segregation: The Case of Segregated Streetcars," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(4), pages 893-917, December.
    6. Bryan Caplan, 2007. "Introduction to The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies," Introductory Chapters, in: The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies, Princeton University Press.
    7. Oecd, 2006. "Case Law," Nuclear Law Bulletin, OECD Publishing, vol. 2006(1), pages 41-46.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    price controls; price fixing; just price; jewish business ethics; religious economics;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • B11 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Preclassical (Ancient, Medieval, Mercantilist, Physiocratic)
    • D00 - Microeconomics - - General - - - General
    • K20 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - General
    • P00 - Economic Systems - - General - - - General
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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