Posts tagged " business "

One Reason the World Hates the Jews

March 20th, 2018 Posted by Thought Tools 50 comments

People understand some occupations far more easily than others.  A farmer planting seeds or harvesting a crop is easily understood.  A contractor building a house is easily understood.  We easily understand a miner digging coal underground then bringing it up to the surface and a railway worker laying track, as we also understand a mechanic repairing a car.  We get a doctor, a dentist and a factory worker.  We even understand why the football hero or movie star make the big bucks.  We know what all these people do in order to get paid.  We understand the value they add.

In other words, we easily grasp Karl Marx’s labor theory of value.  He insisted that anything involving labor is valuable and the value of a good or service is proportional to the labor involved.  We might challenge Comrade Karl by pointing out that labor doesn’t seem to have much to do with it.  The dentist who labored for only half an hour to end my dreadful toothache gets paid far more than the coal miner is paid for half an hour of his labor.  But to give him credit, Marx would respond by explaining that the dentist labored long and hard in advance of my visit by acquiring the knowledge and skills to repair my tooth. Nonetheless, it isn’t hard to refute Marx’s views on value.

Almost everyone knows that the value of something is set exclusively by what other people (the market) are willing to pay for it.  If two stores offer me two identical chairs, but one was built by a carpenter using only hand tools over the course of two weeks of labor while the other was built quickly and efficiently with power tools, Marx would have to say the first is worth more.  In reality, we’d pay the same for each chair; we really aren’t interested in how much labor went into the job.  Everyone knows that a new Ford truck loses much of its value as soon as its new owner drives it home.  This is not decreed by some mysterious deity of Detroit. Rather it is the recognition that should the new owner wish to sell his truck, nobody will pay him anything close to what he just paid.

Still, in his day, Marx persuaded many people.  His disciples, including one Joseph Stalin who was only five when his economics guru died, bought into what became known as Marxism.  But there was a problem.

One of the occupations that completely contradicts Marxism is commerce.  Even a child watching a blacksmith or a carpenter grasps what they are doing.  Not so with commerce.  The child watches a sales professional sitting at his desk making dozens of phone calls.  Some are to his suppliers to inquire about product availability and prices while others are to possible customers who might be in need of those products.  Then he calls the suppliers again to deliver orders and shipping instructions.  Not surprisingly, the child is clueless about what the business professional was doing and why he gets paid. 

Should the patient parents of this precocious progeny explain just what the sales professional was doing, the little person might reasonably ask, “Why can’t the customer bypass this trader and simply purchase whatever it was he wanted directly from the supplier?”  Doing so would enable him to avoid the markup inevitably added on by the sales professional who manifestly added no labor at all to the product. 

Not surprisingly, this was just how Joseph Stalin saw it and along with his noxious pal, Lenin, proceeded to starve, persecute, and murder all the small businesspeople in the Soviet Union during the 1930s.  After all, these ‘vermin-like Kulaks’ did nothing but add cost to wheat, dairy products, and meat while adding no value at all.  At least one million, probably many more perished miserably.  As a result, without these crucial cogs in the machinery of daily living, the Soviet Union experienced many deadly famines.  That really isn’t the right term because Soviet soil always produced food.  It was just that nobody who knew how to bring it to towns and villages was still alive.

Seeing people engaged in commerce and trade as horrible human beings started long before Marx, Lenin, and Stalin.  In fact, back in the 5th century, early Church theologian St. Augustine stated succinctly, “It is impossible for one to gain if another does not lose.”  In other words, if there is someone between the farmer and your dining table and he is gaining, then you must be losing.  Trade and commerce merely prey on hard-working people.  Using this same thinking, rioters in American cities from back in 1968 up to the present, tend to destroy the small stores and businesses that bring goods and services into their neighborhoods.  Since those storeowners are making a living, clearly their customers must be losing. 

Martin Luther, in his book On the Jews and Their Lies recommended placing axes, shovels, and hoes into the hands of Jews and making them earn an honest living through their labor on farms like everyone else.  Luther loathed trade and commerce.  Going back many years earlier, even the ancient Greeks despised commerce.  Plato saw the merchant as a loathsome person and argued that no citizen should ever engage in commerce.  It was suitable only for second class people.  Aristotle also saw anything to do with trade as vulgar and utterly lacking in virtue. 

In the meantime, while Athens was demonizing the role of the business professional, Jerusalem was elevating it.  Putting his own money at risk by purchasing wheat, meat, and cheese from various farmers and bringing it into the town market so housewives could buy all their household needs from one single local supplier, was taught to be a good deed.  About a third of all the laws in the Torah, the Five Books of Moses, are predicated upon a market place and the services of a vast class of merchants and traders. 

Throughout the Middle Ages, ecclesiastical authority kept Jews out of farming and out of most professions and crafts.  This left them little alternative but to engage in banking and trade which their own religious culture venerated in any case.  Not surprisingly, as merchants who made a profit, their gain was usually seen as everyone else’s loss.  Hatred of Jews became intense and ubiquitous. 

Only once a Judeo-Christian world-view developed, chiefly in Protestant countries and later in the United States, did economic vitality appear and was productivity and trade viewed favorably.  It was no accident that friendliness towards and tolerance of Jews invariably went hand in hand with developing economies.  Countries began to view Jewish business professionals as the economic assets they are.  Tragically, in those cultural zones in which Biblical commitment has faded, such as universities and left-wing politics, we again see mistrust of the merchant, suspicion of free market capitalism and hatred of the Jew and his land, Israel. While this isn’t, perhaps, even one of the most important reasons Jews are hated, it is one of the least considered. 

Many past Thought Tools have laid out the Torah view of money. Understanding the morality of the marketplace is a key tool in being financially successful. This week, you can get Thought Tools Volume 2 with 50 timeless messages on topics such as money, marriage, Hebrew and much more at its lowest price ever. Check it out now.

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Boats Float; Planes Fly; Couples & Businesses Crash

February 20th, 2018 Posted by Thought Tools 10 comments

One of the most sensually satisfying things I’ve ever done was building a seventeen-foot sailing boat out of oak and spruce, plywood and glue, bronze screws and canvas.  If I close my eyes, I can still smell the aromatic sawdust.  After eight months of part-time, loving labor, launch day was almost an anticlimax.  It floated, I climbed aboard, hoisted sail, and glided off across the lake. 

No surprise there; I had purchased plans from an accomplished New Zealand naval architect, Richard Hartley, and followed them diligently.  What is more surprising is that I later built another boat which also floated.  This one was nearly forty feet long and was constructed from steel and cement.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Its hull was a one-inch thick sandwich of steel and cement.  I was not at all surprised when, on launch day, it not only floated but floated exactly to its waterline which I had already painted in bright red on the hull. 

Why wasn’t I surprised?  Because I had purchased plans from a designer in Vancouver who was a recognized expert in ferro-cement boats and I had followed all details diligently.  What percentage of the boats and ships that are built by large shipyards or by serious amateurs float? Actually, about one hundred percent.

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How can I make it to the top?

January 31st, 2018 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 12 comments

I would like to know  how I can get God’s help in being successful in reaching top position in the area of finance when the competition is so high and there are people who are smarter than me and I have been encountering so many defeats  and humiliation while I am working towards my goal.

Kurian K.J.

Dear Kurian,

Based on your letter, we are assuming that English isn’t your native tongue, but we hope we understand your question correctly.

Sometimes, when addressing live audiences,  I (Rabbi Daniel Lapin) ask them if they think God wants us to be rich.  Some say ‘yes’ and some answer, ‘no’.  I then explain that God hasn’t shared His desire on this with me. However, I do know that a good and loving God, in the grand scheme of things, set up a system that rewards those of His children who devote their lives to helping His other children. In general, the more people you help and the more unique that help is, the better you will do financially.

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Do I Have to Stop Making Money?

July 21st, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

This is a complex ethical question, at least for me. An acquaintance introduced me to an internet marketing business which offered ad-sharing that returned $5 for every share purchased once the share retired. When I bought a lot of packs and received 2% per day ($10,000 investment) it adds up and I reinvested every day which made my shares grow. I checked it out and it is not a Ponzi scheme. Since I do not have a business to promote, the traffic that I am buying with my shares are sent randomly to all the other businesses who are promoting their sites on this traffic exchange – Traffic Monsoon by name. I have to view 10 ads personally every day to be a part of the revenue share.

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No Work This Monday

July 7th, 2016 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

Got a project that you’re proud of at work? Better hurry up and get it done because all work is soon coming to an end. Machines are taking over; it’s the end of work. Some greet the news with dismay, What will people do with all that leisure? Others eagerly anticipate a world of all play and no work. Some say humans will no longer have to work. Others say humans will no longer get to work. But all agree this major change is on the horizon.

For those of you eager to hear that you can sleep late this Monday morning, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that work is not coming to an end. The good news is the same. This provocative and puerile prediction has been a staple of everyone from foolish social scientists to bogus futurists for a long time. (more…)

What an overreaction!

June 22nd, 2016 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

“What an overreaction!” This exclamation came from a man who consulted me about some business problems. He was alluding to a former customer of his who angrily left him for a competitor and also bad-mouthed him to others. “We were late on a delivery and off he went on a rant,” he continued. “What an overreaction!”

My gentle questioning revealed that my client had not personally called the aggrieved customer to apologize nor had he offered any kind of compensation. But what was far more interesting was that I discovered that this occurrence was not the first time my client had delivered appalling service to this customer. It was not even the second time. It was the third. (more…)

Steps to Success or Ramps to Riches

May 18th, 2016 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

This past week I’ve enjoyed speaking for three financial conferences, in Arizona, Tennessee, and Texas. (You can always see if I’m scheduled to speak in your neighborhood by looking here: SPEAKING PAGE

Funnily enough, there were two questions I was asked twice by two separate people at two separate conferences. They were both good questions; the first I declined to answer while the second I enjoyed answering. The first was “What is the secret of making a successful marriage?” I demurred to both individuals, explaining that there is not any one secret; though I was tempted to respond, “Simple. Marry Susan!” (more…)

Should I go into massage therapy for my career?

May 14th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

I am a seventeen-year-old young man and I am looking towards going into Massage Therapy to, as you surely would put it, “Serve your fellow man and make money in the process.”. I’ve already participated in a class on it and completed the course. Until I can get licensed, I work for tips since I cannot legally ask for money for my work. 

The problem is since listening to one of your podcasts where you talked about dating, courting and marriage, you talked about the power of touch. How dangerous it can be. What are your thoughts on Massage Therapy and would you consider it respectable work? It’s been on my mind that because of the physical contact in Massage, it should perhaps be reserved only within a marriage?

∼ Riley

Answer:

Dear Riley, (more…)

Your answer was off base!

May 5th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question #1:

“I have been receiving your newsletter and watching you on Glenn Beck and listening to your radio Podcasts for quite a while now. I respect you greatly and think that you have a lot of wisdom, however, I was very dismayed at your answer to the young 17-year-old aspiring massage therapist. I’m a massage therapist myself and there are countless ways that you can go into the profession. There are many ways that you can serve in a medical setting rather than in a spa setting. Spa massage IS a luxury and has much less therapeutic value.

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Should I be in business with a sinner?

April 7th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 1 comment

Question:

I have been a born-again Christian for 35 years. During that time a health and wellness company I worked with as an independent contractor/nurse for 25 years, decided to sell.

They offered the company to myself and a homosexual man. I was always service and he was the sales arm of the business. I went ahead with the partnership, and the business has been blessed beyond belief. The business allows me to bless others by helping educate them to lead a healthy life. 

My partner knows I am a born again Christian, but I do not judge him. I have taken the stance of hating the sin, but loving the sinner. Do you feel this is wrong for my husband and myself? 

Thanks,

∼ Patti

Answer:

Dear Patti,

Congratulations on owning and running a business that fulfills you and blesses so many. We’d like to expand your question so that it covers multiple examples rather than only the one you mention. God-fearing people could have the same concern about a business partner who publicly sins in any number of ways, not only the sin you describe.

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