Bergson, Abram 1914-2003
BERGSON, Abram 1914-2003
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born April 21, 1914, in Baltimore, MD; died April 23, 2003, in Cambridge, MA. Economist, consultant, and author. Bergson was a former Harvard professor and authority on the Soviet economy. He earned his bachelor's degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1933 and his doctorate from Harvard University in 1940. While working on his degree at Harvard, he was an economics instructor, and at the age of twenty-three published an important paper that measured a population's well being given economic factors. After graduating he was a faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin for two years. During World War II, Bergson worked for the federal government in Washington, D.C., including time at the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor of the Central Intelligence Agency, where he was chief of the Russian economic subdivision. He then taught at Columbia University for ten years, returning to Harvard in 1956 as a professor of economics and directing the university's Russian Research Center (now the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies) from 1964 to 1968. He left academia in 1968, but continued working as a consultant for years afterward. Along with Paul A. Samuelson, Bergson became well known in the field for creating the Bergson-Samuelson social welfare function, a formula for calculating social well-being that is still commonly used by economists. His continuing interest in the Soviet economy led to his writing frequently on the subject, comparing the communist methods of management with nations using a free market economy. Bergson was the author of several books on this and other economics subjects, including Real National Income of Soviet Russia since 1928 (1961), Soviet Post-War Economic Development (1974), Welfare, Planning, and Employment: Selected Essays in Economic Theory (1982), and Planning and Performance in Socialist Economies: The USSR and Eastern Europe (1989); he also edited several economics books.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Writers Directory, 18th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2003.
Los Angeles Times, May 4, 2003, p. B17.
New York Times, April 25, 2003, p. B11.
Washington Post, May 2, 2003, p. B7.