The State and Capitalism in Israel

The State and Capitalism in Israel

The State and Capitalism in Israel

The State and Capitalism in Israel

Synopsis

This study examines the development of capitalism in Israel. Taking a different view from the traditional modernization perspective, Ben-Porat argues that since 1948--when Israel became a state--the process of forming a capitalist society has underlain all other major processes. To explain capitalism in Israel, a perspective is needed that treats the problems of implanting capitalism in post-colonial states. Problems include the undeveloped class structure; the inability of the bourgeoisie to fulfill its capitalist role; the continuing post-colonial dependency on state support; and, most importantly, the central role of the state in enhancing, but also regulating, capitalism.

Excerpt

This study is being written at a time when capitalism is celebrating its expanding hegemony in every corner of the globe and, most importantly, in the Eastern European countries which are gladly surrendering to what they consider a new "messiah." Those states that are already capitalist are consolidating and intensifying their capitalism, while the others are exhibiting their eagerness to become capitalist, although their success is dubious. Thus, it would seem that the end of the twentieth century will be marked by the clear hegemony of capitalism in both halves of the hemisphere. Nonetheless, because this system is possible only under certain conditions, few countries will actually succeed, while many others will fail. While many share the same dream, only for some will that dream come true.

With more than two centuries of experience with capitalism, we believe we can identify the most basic conditions required for the emergence of capitalism and the rules that maintain its reproduction. From the truly vast literature that deals with this subject, we can draw two conclusions: (1) certain definite conditions are required for capitalism anywhere, and (2) every social conjuncture may have a specific impact on the process of becoming capitalist. Yet, although we know, or at least assume, which specific ingredients of capitalism are indispensable, we do not have a sure recipe for it; we cannot foretell the pace and the final form of this system in a particular society. All we can and should do is to examine each case that is suspected of undergoing the process and allow the particular to mingle with the general rules of becoming.

Understanding capitalism means engaging in an attempt to iden-

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