The Business of Jews
This chapter focuses on the economic culture of Jews with particular emphasis on myths and practices. While steering clear of essentialist assumptions about intrinsic ‘racial traits’, it asks whether there was, in fact, anything distinctive about the attitudes and activities of Jewish entrepreneurs. It examines ‘Shylock's shadow’, the scurrilous stereotypes that pictured Jews as greedy, materialistic, and acquisitive; the historical and sociological literature regarding Jewish economic behaviour; and the role of Jews in specific sectors of the American economy, notably in book publishing. It is argued that the Jewish experience in American business underlines the role of social marginality as an important source of innovation.
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