1. For a seminal contribution to this literature, see Collard David, Altruism and the Economy: A Study of Non-Selfish Economics (Oxford, 1978). On the role of altruism in historical economic development and retrodevelopment, see Silver Morris, Affluence, Altruism, and Atrophy: The Decline of Welfare States (New York, 1980).
2. This is not the only instance in which the rabbis and modern economists might analyze an economic problem differently. According to Rabbi Hanina (3rd cent. C.E.), if the price of grain is relatively low but grain is not easily obtainable, then, if I understand the authors (pp.48–50) correctly, it might be justified to interfere with market forces. If the price were “low” and the product unavailable, modern economists would immediately become suspicious that a maximum-price law was being enforced. Such laws when effective produce a shortage, i.e., the quantity supplied is less than the quantity demanded at the controlled price.
3.Yaron Reuven, “Redemption of Persons in the Ancient Near East,”Revue Internationale des droits de l'antiquité6 (1959): 159.See further Silver Morris, Economic Structures of the Ancient Near East (London1985), pp. 48, 94, 102.
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