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Business Cycle Analysis: The Talmudic Insight

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses that the Talmudic scholars, in the course of their discussions, have developed certain notions concerning business disturbances which modern economists have come to recognize as business cycles. It analyzes some of those passages in the light of modern economics. But first a few words about the development of business cycle theories. The question regarding the necessity of studying the heavenly spheres and their cycles is a recurring theme in the Talmud. The Talmudic scholars were keenly aware of the tendency for prices to fluctuate both on micro and macro levels, and that those price changes can occur locally and inter-regionally. The chapter shows that the talmudic scholars probed the problem of scarcity by way of analysis of failures of supply of commodities resulting in supply shock. These probings included a theory of economic fluctuations, plus some strong intimation of a quantity theory of money.

Keywords: business cycle theories; commodities; economic fluctuations; modern economics; supply shock; Talmud; theory of money



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