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How kibbutzim succeeded despite the laws of economics

Please note that prior to May 2019, the Stanford King Center on Global Development was known as the Stanford Center on Global Poverty and Development.

Aerial view of kibbutz
Wikimedia Commons
Nov 8 2018

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In the News, Center on Global Poverty and Development News

In the early 20th century, socialist Zionist zeal inspired Jewish pioneers in the Land of Israel to form collective farms known as kibbutzim. In them all property was held in common, children were raised communally, and the maxim “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” was strictly observed. Economic theory would seem to suggest that kibbutzim would fail, but they did not. And although no more than a small proportion of Israelis lived in them at any given time, although many have switched from agricultural pursuits to industry and high-tech, and although they have abandoned the most radical forms of collectivism, they continue to thrive and have played a major role in Israeli society. Stanford economist Ran Abramitzky discusses with Russell Roberts the kibbutz’s history and the reasons for its success.

Listen to the interview.