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The mystery of the Kibbutz : egalitarian principles in a capitalist world

Author: Ran Abramitzky
Publisher: Princeton, New Jersey : Princeton University Press, [2018] ©2018
Series: Princeton economic history of the Western world.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
How kibbutzim thrived for much of the twentieth century despite their inherent economic contradictions. The kibbutz is a social experiment in collective living that challenges traditional economic theory. By sharing all income and resources equally among its members, the kibbutz system created strong incentives to free ride or as in the case of the most educated and skilled to depart for the city. Yet for much of  Read more...
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Ran Abramitzky
ISBN: 9780691177533 0691177538
OCLC Number: 1005097904
Description: vi, 343 pages : illustrations, map ; 25 cm
Contents: Introduction : The kibbutz puzzle --
Part I. The rise. How my grandparents helped create a kibbutz --
A bird's-eye view --
Why an economist might create a kibbutz --
Part II. The survival. On the creation versus survival of societies --
The free-rider problem --
The adverse selection and brain drain problems --
The problem of human capital investment --
Part III. The fall. The shift away from equal sharing --
Why some kibbutzim remained egalitarian and others did not --
The consequences of rising income inequality --
On the (lack of) stability of communes : an economic perspective --
Economic lessons in a nutshell --
Epilogue --
Kibbutz timeline.
Series Title: Princeton economic history of the Western world.
Responsibility: Ran Abramitzky.

Abstract:

How kibbutzim thrived for much of the twentieth century despite their inherent economic contradictions. The kibbutz is a social experiment in collective living that challenges traditional economic theory. By sharing all income and resources equally among its members, the kibbutz system created strong incentives to free ride or as in the case of the most educated and skilled to depart for the city. Yet for much of the twentieth century kibbutzim thrived, and kibbutz life was perceived as idyllic both by members and the outside world. In The Mystery of the Kibbutz, Ran Abramitzky blends economic perspectives with personal insights to examine how kibbutzim successfully maintained equal sharing for so long despite their inherent incentive problems. Weaving the story of his own family's experiences as kibbutz members with extensive economic and historical data, Abramitzky sheds light on the idealism and historic circumstances that helped kibbutzim overcome their economic contradictions. He illuminates how the design of kibbutzim met the challenges of thriving as enclaves in a capitalist world and evaluates kibbutzim's success at sustaining economic equality. By drawing on the stories of his pioneering grandmother who founded a kibbutz, his uncle who remained in a kibbutz his entire adult life, and his mother who was raised in and left the kibbutz, Abramitzky brings to life the rise and fall of the kibbutz movement. The lessons that The Mystery of the Kibbutz draws from this unique social experiment extend far beyond the kibbutz gates, serving as a guide to societies that strive to foster economic and social equality.

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"[This book] draws on extensive statistical data to analyse this paradox, along with many stories of his relatives who forged, embraced and sometimes rejected the kibbutz way of life." * Times Higher Read more...

 
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