The Common Insights of Economics and Judaism

April 2, 2018 | Russ Roberts
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In his 1974 lecture upon receiving the Nobel Prize, the Austrian economist and political philosopher Friedrich Hayek expounded on the problem posed by what he termed “the pretense of knowledge.” To Hayek, economists and policymakers often go astray when they presume to have far more knowledge than they do, or even than they could possibly have. This insistence on intellectual humility shares much, according to the economist Russ Roberts, with Judaism’s. Furthermore, explains Roberts, one finds in the Talmud statements that very much reflect modern economic theories of specialization, and the development of halakhah itself in some ways mirrors the Hayekian notion of “emergent order.” (Interview by Jonathan Silver. Audio, 52 minutes.)

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