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||Writer: Michel Gendrot
a priori, predisposed Maurice Allais to turn to the study of Economical Sciences
|| His traditional
and scientific formation , his empirical disposition, his curiosity of the unknown, his
passage by the Polytechnic School, all naturally turned him towards the study of sciences
of physical matters. One saw besides (see the chapter: The Scientist)
the passion and the eagerness which he put to launch out himself in experiments of physics
fundamental, and this on a simple starting intuition. What he calls "intuition
créatrice" [Creative intuition]
|| In several of
his works, Maurice Allais explains us the source of his scientific vocation. For me,
it seemed more necessary to know the source of his vocation of economist !
Why, from the very start of his career, was he so interested with
Economic Sciences to which his former formation hadn't prepared him ?
|| A beginning of an
answer is certainly in his high idea of the philosophy of the life, in his
conception of social ethics, in the interest he takes in the study of human
psychology and in his conviction of the need for economic and social progress . But that
would not have been sufficient without several circumstances which make him start
and that Maurice Allais wanted to share with me.
|| During the
summer holidays 1933, at his exit of the Polytechnic School and before carrying out his
military service, he goes to visit the United States. It is the time of the Great
Depression and he's very disturbed by appalling social consequences that it involved,
whereas nobody had it considering coming and whereas nobody had understood its real
origin. That led him to want to analyze the phenomenon to dismount its mechanisms in order
to refine the economic knowledge, the goal being to avoid the return of similar
catastrophes and to promote the social progress for the benefit of all.
|| A little later, making
his military service as young officer at the Artillery School of Fontainebleau, he used to
come to spend Sunday in Paris. One Monday morning, on the way of return to Fontainebleau,
his motor bike hits a taxi. His delay is worth 40 days arrest. But his note of exit
is affected, and instead of being assigned to one prestigious garrison as it could have
claimed, one assigns him to the army of the Alps ! Small cause, great effects !
This second combination of circumstances completely fortuitous perhaps saved his
life for, when the war started, many of his comrades were killed or wounded on the front
of the Ardennes in 1940. His own war took place on the Italian front and lasted the
only 15 days separating the entry in war of Italy and the armistice. Furthermore,
his forced inactivity during several months had to him left much time for thinking.
This visit in the United States and this painless hit were finally at the origin of the
turning taken by his life.