Michael Spence was born in 1931 in Kenya. When he was 15, his family returned to England, where he attended Michael Hall School in East Sussex. After graduation and national service in the army, he worked variously in a London shipping office, for the Kenya Police, and with a finance company. At the age of 36, he was invited by Francis Edmunds to join a group of people developing Emerson College. Spence was closely involved in its evolution, assuming responsibility for its finances, administration, and campus. He also led study groups and lectured on the threefold nature of social life at Emerson College, in North America, and elsewhere. He is the author of Freeing the Human Spirit (1999) and After Capitalism (2012).