Michael E. Berumen (born 1952) writes on philosophy, other topics, and is a semi-retired businessman. He is the author of the book, Do No Evil: Ethics with Applications to Economic Theory and Business, among other publications. Berumen retired in 2001 as senior vice president of one of the nation's largest financial institutions, Pacific Life Insurance Company, after leading its national group employee benefits operation. He founded one of the nation’s premier excess-loss underwriters, Pacific Risk Management Services, a unit of Pacific Life. He is the former chief executive officer (2003-2009) of Four Star Private Patrol, Inc, which specializes in private security. He is current president of cogito enterprises, a consultancy and facilitator of his public addresses and seminars. Berumen is the former editor of the Bulletin (2014-2017), a journal published by The Bertrand Russell Society.
After a peripatetic childhood , he ran away from home and could be variously found hopping freight trains, hanging out on the streets of Hollywood or Las Vegas, hitchhiking across the nation, experimenting with sex and drugs, and living in San Francisco's Haight-Ashubury district. This was a period punctuated by bouts of delinquency, which landed him in juvenile hall for a brief time, just enough to shake him from his youthful waywardness and moral torpor. After early admission to college, having performed very well on some tests, he dropped out, and Berumen (easily!) persuaded his mother to allow him to volunteer for the U.S. Army in 1969, only a few weeks after The his 17th birthday. While in the Army, he showed some promise given some facility with mathematics, so he was trained in cryptography, and, having the benefit of an expunged juvenile record, he ended up doing highly classified work in Europe with Strategic Ammunition Support Command under NATO, where he lived for nearly two years.
In 1993, Berumen testified before the U.S. Congress as an expert on health insurance. He also is the author of published articles on various subjects, including philosophy and business; he has appeared on television broadcasts; been interviewed a number of times by leading newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal; and he has lectured widely before community, academic, and business audiences.
Over the years, Berumen also has been a member and director of various academic, business, and civic groups. He is a member of the The Bertrand Russell Society's board of directors and its former treasurer (retiring from the board at the end of 2017). He was also the editor of its periodical, the Bulletin, which , in addition to his own writing, featured articles from world-renowned logicians and philosophers.
Berumen's philosophical interests extend over a wide range of subjects, including mathematics, logic, science, epistemology, and ethics. In recent years, Berumen has focused primarily on developing and justifying a normative system of ethics and considering its implications on economic theory and business practices. He is presently working on a philosophical understanding of space-time.
Berumen has at various times called his philosophy rational objectivism, which roughly holds that our most useful knowledge is grounded in experience tempered by logic (reason), and, at best, that it is an approximation of truth. He is a traditional realist in terms of his epistemology and metaphysics, and he eschews both subjectivism (idealism) and the pragmatic or instrumentalist view of truth. His philosophical outlook most closely resembles Bertrand Russell's (he is a lifetime member of the Bertrand Russell Society). Berumen's ethics (in a philosophical sense) are roughly an admixture of the outlooks of Kant, Hume, and Hare.
Berumen lives in Northern Colorado with his wife, Carol, and their daughter, Anastasia, lives with her husband, Craig, nearby.
Berumen’s book Do No Evil is available at major booksellers, including on line vendors such as amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and powells.com,
The major, independent book reviewer, Kirkus, describes Berumen's book, Do No Evil, as: “A fresh, convincing ethical examination.”