Kibbutzim Go Private


Not much of a surprise, at this point, as noted by Claire Berlinski over at Ricochet:

Beit-Oren was founded as a die-hard socialist settlement in 1939. Predictably, it went bankrupt, because socialism doesn’t work. By the 1980s it had no means of subsistence, and the world’s ideological tides having turned, the larger kibbutz movement cut it off. In 1987 about half the population of the kibbutz decided to leave, an event known as the Beit Oren Incident.

In 1988, after an intense period of discussion and decision, the New Kibbutz was on its way with renewed strength and vigor, and many new members. The kibbutz’s financial situation improved, empty apartments were rented to new residents, the kitchen and dining room became an events hall, and various kibbutz enterprises recovered. In June 1995, the decision was taken to privatize services and individual income. This was to be the first in a series of privatizations. Within a short time after this decision, most kibbutz members expressed satisfaction with this arrangement.

As socialisms go, Kibbutzim were among its more humane manifestations.  Unlike residents inmates of the Soviet bloc, people were free to go any time they wanted, and join the majority of Israel that was at least somewhat more capitalist.  The country may have been conceived of and run by socialists, but actual kibbutzniks were always a small minority, and capitalism was a vital, if largely latent force in Israel from its beginnings.

In fact, as Sol Stern points out, Tel Aviv was a very capitalist enterprise from the beginning.  And since Netanyahu, as Finance Minister, began privatizing large swatches of the economy, its entrepreneurial spirit has been given free rein.

So while it’s not surprising that Israelis are innovators when it comes to water, it’s at least a little ironic that a major Israeli venture capital firm, specializing in water projects, would be located in “Kibbutz” Lavi.

All this must be giving Haman fits.

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