Why are the Jews so irrationally successful? Biology.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Despite being 0.2% of the global population, Jews make up 20% of the 50 richest people, and 19% of the 200 richest people in the world.

Contrary to stereotype, only 40% of the Jews among the 50 richest people become rich through their historical caste of handling money, banking, or investments. The remaining 60% became rich through innovation related to computers.

How have Jews consistently superseded proportion with respect to their wealth? It’s biology. The history of the Jews is a tragic one, spanning thousands of years of oppression, castigation, and discrimination at the hands nearly every society that they existed within. The threats that society consistently posed to the Jewish community are what in turn empowers them today.

Historically the lives of the Jews were always very hard, just by existing as Jew, your life becomes harder. Many places will not interact with you, society condemns you, and often you are faced with threats against your life.

This constant presence of threats and challenges against one’s life creates something known as selective pressure. Selective pressure is what causes animals to evolve in the wild; it creates hurdles, checkpoints that check whether or not an animal has the traits needed to survive. Those that don’t pass this test are selected against, often with death, and those that have the traits needed to survive get passed the hurdle and go on to reproduce.

A contemporary example of this is seen in antibiotic resistant bacteria. There is immense selective pressure on these organisms. Antibiotics largely eradicate most all bacteria, leaving very few surviving. This selective event causes only the bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics to survive and continue to reproduce. This is what caused antibiotic resistant bacteria to come into existence and proliferate to the point of being an observable phenomenon.

Photo by MAX LIBERTINE on Unsplash

The Jews faced similar difficulty in most every place they existed. Society wanted them gone, if not dead, and this meant that the Jews had to be able to persevere through the irrational degree of hardship and difficulty in their lives in order to survive.

Many Jews who did not have the capacity to survive within a society that condemned them would have been readily put to death. When society wants you dead, even the slightest misstep or mistake could mean the end of your life. Many things that a non-Jew would be forgiven for would be a death sentence to a Jew, and a Jew could even be castigated or killed just for existing as a Jew due to the superstitions, ignorance, and bigotry that dominated history.

The constant threat to the Jewish community meant a higher degree of selective pressure. Those that were unable to overcome the adversity they faced as Jews, unable to succeed in the face of the challenges they faced, were often not able to survive and reproduce, leaving only the Jews that were able to survive in the endlessly hostile environment.

Selective pressure causes traits beneficial to one’s survival to be passed down while eliminating those that are harmful to one’s survival. As Jews needed to be incredibly clever, cautious, thoughtful, and resourceful to survive in a society that opposed them, these are the traits that got reinforced. The Jews without these traits did not survive, while the ones that had them did.

This selective pressure caused these traits to become more and more prevalent in the Jewish people, simply because they needed to have them in order to survive. These traits continued to be passed down within the Jewish community, as their ostracization from society meant that Jews largely reproduced within their own community, further concentrating these traits that are selected for within the Jewish community.

This created a community defined by these traits, passing down both a natural predisposition and the teachings of the community that empowered the Jews to make use of these traits.

This continues today, as is seen by the statistical predisposition of Jewish people to become very rich. These Jews become rich by relying upon the same traits of clever resourcefulness and cautious thoughtfulness that their ancestors relied upon just to survive.

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Now that antisemitism is no longer as prevalent, these skills inherited by Jews allow them to become very successful. Before, when the pressure was higher, these skills just allowed the Jews to survive, but when you take off that unnatural pressure of bigotry, the Jews can now use these inherited skills to not only survive, but thrive.

One way to think of this would be a weight belt. The social pressure against the Jews was a weighted belt around the waist that they were forced to carry around. They were forced to work and survive just like everyone else, but they were forced to do this while carrying a heavy, weighted belt around their waist, day in and day out.

Now that this belt has largely been removed, at least in many places, these thousands of years of weight-training, of bearing the condemnation of society, is now visible among the Jewish community.

They have trained to become strong enough to survive in a society that demanded this of them, and now that they no longer need to fight for their life, they can use the strength that once protected their community for other purposes such as innovation.

These skills that the Jews once used, and needed, just to survive, are no longer needed for their survival, but these skills still exist, but now been reapplied to other parts of a person’s life. This is seen in fields related to technological innovation. Since the Jews no longer need to use this cleverness and innovation to protect their communities, they can instead focus this skill set towards other ends such as developing technology.

Another fitting allegory is the concept of swords into ploughshares. The Jews were forced to wield these swords that allowed for their survival in a society constantly at war with them. Not true swords, but allegorical swords, the skills needed to survive despite constant threats. Now that the Jews often no longer need to use these swords in self-defense, they are free to turn them into ploughshares, to use these skills for work rather than self-defense.

The capacity of the Jews to do this is evident in the success they have been able to achieve and great things they have accomplished in such a short timeframe. The timeframe is so short, considering that the pressure of anti-Semitism was still very significant in the West, even 80 years ago, which only started to fade when the actions of Hitler finally caused the West to stop tolerating the once commonplace bigotry, discrimination, and hatred directed at the Jewish people.

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash




Used to write things, a couple books. Delusions of being able to help humanity faded. Now I'm mostly just waiting to die.

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Marzipan Maddox

Marzipan Maddox

Used to write things, a couple books. Delusions of being able to help humanity faded. Now I'm mostly just waiting to die.

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