Who is he: George Reisman is a well known free-market thinker, educator and outspoken proponent of liberty. In his ambitious book Capitalism, Reisman synthesized the work of British Classical thinkers with thinkers from the Austrian Schools of Economics. What Dr. Reisman wished to do was combine the various theoretical frameworks and visions of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, James Mill, and John Stuart Mill with those of Carl Menger, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk and Ludwig von Mises.
The first group of thinkers is well known within the classical mainstream; the next group is considered a good deal more "extreme" in terms of their insistence that the market itself has the ability to create livable societies. This is basically the fundamental issue that those who comment on the free market face: Where does one draw the line?
In fact, theoretically speaking, every law and regulation is a price fix, distorting the economy by transferring wealth from the individual who created it to someone who did not. This can make for extraordinary inefficiencies over time as those who receive wealth without creating it often have no idea of how to reinvest it productively.
However, life is not a zero sum game and insistence on the perfect only harms the pursuit of the good. In seeking, then, to reconcile the two schools of free-market thought, Dr. Reisman was advocating a grand synthesis that would present to the world a definitive argument for capitalism and the workings of free markets. This was not only an ambitious goal, it was a worthy one.
Dr. Reisman continued in his quest to synthesize the world's free-market knowledge. In the 1980s, with his wife, Edith Packer, J.D., Ph.D, Reisman organized The Thomas Jefferson School of Philosophy, Economics and Psychology. Jefferson was a worthy individual to honor in this regard as Jefferson was a synthesizer himself, someone who had moved past theorizing to the application of theories to the creation of a nation based on natural law and freedom.
Here is how Dr. Reisman describes the school: "The Jefferson School has been created to advance and disseminate the philosophical and scientific knowledge that is necessary to the existence of a capitalist society. Accordingly, the School's primary mission is the further development, application, and teaching of the ideas of the pro-reason, pro-individualist philosophers and the pro-freedom, pro-capitalist economists, and of compatible ideas in the field of psychology. All of its activities and programs feature the relevant doctrines of Objectivist and Aristotelian philosophy and of Austrian and Classical economics."
The school has held conferences and seminars. Its lecturers have featured: Leonard Peikoff, Edward Teller, Petr Beckmann, Hans Sennholz, Bernard Siegan, Anne Wortham, Robert Hessen, Allan Gotthelf, David Kelley, John Ridpath, Harry Binswanger, Edwin A. Locke, Walter E. Williams, Mary Ann Sures, Andrew Bernstein and Peter Schwartz. Attendees of these conferences include later Objectivist writers Tara Smith, Lindsay Perigo and James S. Valliant. Reisman was a student of Ayn Rand, whose influence on his thought and work is at least as great as that of his mentor, Ludwig von Mises. Reisman identifies himself as an Objectivist, though he is no longer affiliated with the Ayn Rand Institute due to a falling out with some of its senior members, particularly Harry Binswanger and Peter Schwartz.
Background: George Gerald Reisman was born January 13, 1937 in New York City. Dr. Reisman is Professor Emeritus of Economics at Pepperdine University and the author of a grand synthesis of free markets called Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics, which was published in 1996. Dr. Reisman is also the author of an earlier book, The Government Against the Economy, which was published in 1979. This was well-received and praised by F.A. Hayek and Henry Hazlitt; however the contents can also be found, largely, in Capitalism.
Dr. Reisman received his Ph.D from New York University and was privileged to work directly with Ludwig von Mises. Dr. Reisman would eventually translate von Mises' methodological work The Epistemological Problems of Economics from German into English.