The Financial Meltdown of 2008: The Perspective of Jewish Law

29 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2009 Last revised: 7 Jul 2010

See all articles by Hershey H. Friedman

Hershey H. Friedman

City University of New York - Department of Business Management

Linda Weiser Friedman

Baruch College, CUNY - Zicklin School of Business; CUNY - The Graduate Center

Date Written: June 14, 2009

Abstract

One of the great ironies of the financial meltdown of 2008 – which was really more of a values meltdown – is that very few U.S. laws were actually broken. This paper investigates the financial crisis from a different legal perspective – that of Jewish law, using six framing principles: misleading with bad advice; deception and fraud; bribery, both outright and subtle; honest weights and measures; conflicts of interest; and transparency. Each of these is used as a lens through which to view the activities and behaviors that caused the current financial debacle and, in the process, almost totaled the global economy. The paper concludes that Jewish law was violated at every step of the way towards the current financial catastrophe. Had the bankers, auditors, rating agencies, politicians, regulators, and mortgage brokers followed the principles of business ethics described in Jewish law, the global financial crisis would not have occurred.

Keywords: financial crisis, mortgage brokers, business ethics, Jewish law, Talmud, conflict of interest

JEL Classification: A2, B1, B11, G1, G2, G21, G22, G23, G24, G28, G3, K2, M14

Suggested Citation

Friedman, Hershey H. and Friedman, Linda Weiser, The Financial Meltdown of 2008: The Perspective of Jewish Law (June 14, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1419537 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1419537

Hershey H. Friedman

City University of New York - Department of Business Management ( email )

Linda Weiser Friedman (Contact Author)

Baruch College, CUNY - Zicklin School of Business ( email )

17 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10010
United States

HOME PAGE: http://cisnet.baruch.cuny.edu/friedman/

CUNY - The Graduate Center

365 Fifth Avenue
New York,, NY 10016
United States

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