Your Host: James B. Berger

Jim Berger

Autobiographical Sketch

Over the years I have done a lot of different things. I will, however, save you from having to work your way through a detailed autobiography to find what relates to my qualifications for the development of The Free Market Center.

I graduated from college in the mid-1960s with a BA degree in economics. Several years later I earned a MBA degree, for which I studied more economics. This educational background has nothing to do with my qualifications to create The Free Market Center. I mention it only as a matter of full disclosure, for that education had very little to do with my current thinking about economics. It did, however, stimulate my curiosity about how economies really work.

During most of my business career I continued to study economics because it related to the things I was doing. I spent about 14 years in the banking business as both a bank officer and as a bank director. Over the years I kept very close the investment world. I served for several years as a director of an investment advisory firm and I also managed a sizable personal investment portfolio. I also owned several small businesses.

Throughout the period from collage and most of my business career I could not make sense of the economic theory I encountered in textbooks and the press. I could see that things did not work the way they described.

In the early 1970’s someone introduced me to The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality by Ludwig von Mises. I have been a student of The Austrian School of Economics ever since. I had finally found a set of principles and theories that stood the test of logic—as a matter of fact only the Austrians advocated the use of logic in their methodology.

My fascination with Austrian economic comes, in part, from my study of systems and systems thinking. I also found that only the Austrians understood—even implicitly—the systemic nature of economies.

I must add the influence that General Semantics has had on my thinking over the last few years. General Semantics advocates processes that help better evaluate and understand the world.

When I put that background together with my belief in the need for more clear thinking in the world, I felt obliged to set up The Free Market Center.

One free man says frankly what he thinks and feels in the midst of thousands who by their actions and words maintain just the opposite. It might be supposed that the man who has frankly expressed his thought would remain isolated, yet in most cases it happens that all, or the majority, of the others have long thought and felt the same as he, only they have not expressed it. And what yesterday was the novel opinion of one man becomes today the general opinion of the majority. And as soon as this opinion is established, at once by imperceptible degrees but irresistibly, the conduct of mankind begins to alter.

Leo Tolstoy