Acton Institute Powerblog

A Hanukkah meditation on Maimonides … and venture capitalism

If the average person had to describe a capitalist, he might name “Dickens’ unredeemed Scrooge, or Gordon (‘Greed is good!’) Gecko from the movie Wall Street.” However, the real patron saint of venture capitalism may well be the great Jewish theologian and philosopher Moses Maimonides, writes Laurie Morrow, Ph.D., in a Hanukkah meditation for Acton’s Religion & Liberty Transatlantic website.

“Rambam” believed that the highest form of charity is enabling someone to start a business or take other means so that he will no longer have to beg. Morrow writes:

What a remarkable, refreshing idea: that the highest form of charity is to help talented people find employers who value them, or to become business owners themselves, and thus, potentially, employers of other people in need of work. The giver removes from the struggling person the humiliating stigma of the supplicant. He offers an endorsement of the recipient’s talent and character in the form of recommendations for positions or offers of capital to enable the person to start his own business venture. A time of struggle and despair can be transformed into a time of growth and pride. And she who is raised up by such trust in her talents may well replicate that experience for others down on their luck, and those she benefits may do the same. Such entrepreneurial philanthropy may well generate a kind of multiplier effect that uplifts, not only an individual’s income and his heart, but ultimately generations within his community.

Read the whole essay here.

Further resources from the Acton Institute on Judaism and economics:

Judaism, Law & the Free Market: An Analysis by Joseph Isaac Lifshitz

Judaism, Markets, and Capitalism: Separating Myth from Reality by Corinne Sauer and Robert M. Sauer

(Photo credit: Maimonides’ “A Guide for the Perplexed.” Public domain.)

Rev. Ben Johnson

Rev. Ben Johnson (@therightswriter) is an Eastern Orthodox priest and served as Executive Editor of the Acton Institute (2016-2021), editing Religion & Liberty, the Powerblog, and its transatlantic website. He has extensively researched the Alt-Right. Previously, he worked for LifeSiteNews and FrontPageMag.com, where he wrote three books including Party of Defeat (with David Horowitz, 2008). His work has appeared at DailyWire.com, National Review, The American Spectator, The Guardian, Daily Caller, National Catholic Register, Spectator USA, FEE Online, RealClear Policy, The Blaze, The Stream, American Greatness, Aleteia, Providence Magazine, Charisma, Jewish World Review, Human Events, Intellectual Takeout, CatholicVote.org, Issues & Insights, The Conservative, Rare.us, and The American Orthodox Institute. His personal websites are therightswriter.com and RevBenJohnson.com. His views are his own.