Jews make up less than 3% of the US population. However, about a quarter of the Forbes 400 richest Americans are Jewish. This includes Larry Ellison, worth almost $150 billion, Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google worth $110 billion, and Michael Bloomberg, worth $96 billion. The pattern repeats in Europe. Every European country has at least a few Jewish billionaires. Even in Russia, an adversary of the US, the richest oligarchs are Jewish.
Some estimate the Rothschild family’s net worth at $500 trillion, though the true number is debated. Either way, Jews seem to be the richest ethnic group percentage-wise. However, not all Jews are rich. What exactly are Jewish people doing differently that leads to such business success? If you’re ready to uncover the reasons, read on.
Surviving Discrimination Led to Jewish Success
By the 10th century, Christianity dominated Europe’s social and political structures. Minorities, especially Jews, were often blamed and faced discrimination. Jews were treated as second-class citizens, excluded from jobs and professions. Becoming successful was a matter of life and death.
Jews couldn’t easily hide their identity. They had to rely on tight-knit communities for survival. When a Jew succeeded in business, they brought up other Jews. Jewish entrepreneurs hired other Jews. Facing existential threats shaped strong communities that supported each other’s growth.
Having entrepreneurship and financial skills became necessary for survival. Relying on others for employment wasn’t an option. This explains the many successful Jewish entrepreneurs today, from Sergey Brin to Mark Zuckerberg.
Christian Europe Discouraged Wealth Pursuit
For centuries, the Church encouraged living a simple, frugal lifestyle without chasing money and wealth. This concept even formed the foundation of Communism, where making profits was illegal. However, Jewish culture took a different view, encouraging financial literacy, business ownership and wealth creation.
When the Soviet Union collapsed, Jews were the first to seize the opportunities. They traveled the world raising capital to buy former Soviet assets for pennies on the dollar after the chaos ended. This is why we see so many Jewish Russian billionaires today.
Banking and Finance Became Jewish Specialties
In both Christianity and Islam, loaning money with interest was strictly forbidden. So Jews came to dominate banking and finance. These skills became household knowledge for Jews, making them more financially literate.
In the 19th century, the Rothschilds built the first modern international financial system. The five Rothschild brothers set up banking operations across Europe’s capitals. This allowed efficient money transfers between cities. With the Industrial Revolution also beginning, global banking boomed.
European rulers relied on Jewish bankers to fund wars, colonialism and more. Jews became indispensable money managers for royalty. This concentration of financial knowledge continues today with many key economic posts held by Jews.
Land Ownership Restrictions Drove Jewish Innovation
Jews were barred from owning land across much of Europe. Landowners were part of the nobility that ruled. Lacking this option, Jews had to innovate in business, trade and sciences to advance up the social ladder, helping drive their entrepreneurial success.
Understanding Money Management
Jews understand saving money is key to building wealth. Assets like stocks, bonds and real estate provide income streams. The more assets you acquire, the richer you become over time. But buying assets requires saving money rather than overspending. Jews prioritize saving and investing over conspicuous consumption. This financial prudence is instrumental for their business success.