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Following page Writer: Michel  Gendrot
      Nothing, 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.


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