The first basic lesson in economics I ever heard was from my brother. One day, our mom gave me some money in the kitchen and sent me to buy some stuff from the nearby mom and pop grocery store. My brother took me quietly aside in the living room before I could get out of the house, and revealed the supposed root cause of all economic activity.
"Whereya going?" he asked seemingly innocently.
"To Sol's (he was the pop of the store) t'get rye bread and milk" I answered unsuspectingly.
"And whaddya getting for your self?" asking inquisitor style. I just looked up at him with uncomprehending doe eyes.
"Hey! Whennya gonna stop goin' t'the store for free?" he demanded.
"Huh? Whaddya mean? Mom sent me!" I replied, totally uncomprehending.
"Y'can't jus' go for nothin'! Y'gotta get somethin' for y'self, too" he explained.
"Whaddya mean?" Economics wasn't my best subject in school, then or afterwards.
"Let's say mom sendsya to get rye bread, o.k.? You gotta ask for some money t'buy a popsicle, too. Otherwise y'won't go!" he explained patiently. "Get it?"
"Uh huh, think so".
"No", he said with a condescending smile. "When I say: 'Get it?' you answer 'Got it!'. Get it?"
"Uh huh" (I was still the innocent doe).
"No! When I say: 'Get it?' you say: 'Got it!' and then I'll say: 'Good!'" he patiently instructed me on one of the more pertinent lessons for life that he was wont to teach me, out of sincere worry for my future acculturation. "Get it?"
Got it!" I boomed out.
"Good" he said, drawing out the word.
So being dutiful to my brother I went back to my mom and asked for another eight cents to buy a popsicle. My mother didn't seem to be surprised. I guess she knew more about economics than I did. She even smiled a bit; perhaps happy I was learning economics so fast.
It was my first personal encounter with the economic theory of the "profit motive", that it's the quest for profits that motivates human endeavor, ingenuity and achievement. Negatively: no profits – no endeavor. Positively: wheresoever goeth the profit so goeth the doer and shaker.
When the Jewish state was reborn in 1948 there were many Arab states who proclaimed a boycott ofThere is a motive greater than the profit motive: the prophet motive! The prophets of the Bible, who taught that those who truly seek God must always seek justice and charity, the prophets who hailed the vision of a world without hatred, without war, without poverty – they are the prophets who foresaw the Jewish Nation coming back to its ancestral homeland, returning to sovereignty just as in the days of Kings David and Solomon. They told of the land being again a land of milk and honey, and, well, hi-tech, too. If you follow the prophet motive you will support the justice in the restoration of the
Israel. Not only was there a primary boycott – but also a secondary boycott of anyone doing business with the Jewish state. Sometimes there was even a tertiary boycott of those doing business with those doing business with Israel. The profit motive is an old reason for those who comply with Arab boycotts against Israel, since it was born. After all – there are many more that say "Allah Akhbar" than those that say "Gut Shabbos" or "Shma Yisrael". I mean: there aren't many Jews, and not all of them live in Israel. So the profit motive has for many decades gone with the oil and the 22 Arab states, not with the single, tiny, Jewish state. The same today: some will BDS Israel for the profit motive. Some have no clue as to what is really going on in the Middle East and through ignorance accept as true any libel against the Jewish state. They somehow accept that one tiny state is Goliath and the 22 states, over 600 times larger than Israel, is David. There are those who call for tiny Israel to share its land with a portion of the Arab people – because supposedly there isn't enough room for them in the 22 states they already have.