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Maurice Allais
Walrasian economics
Birth 31 May 1911 (1911-05-31) (age 98)
Nationality  France
Field Macroeconomics
Alma mater École Polytechnique
Influences Léon Walras
Influenced Gérard Debreu
Edmond Malinvaud
Contributions Overlapping generations model
golden rule of optimal growth
Transaction demand for money rule
Allais paradox
Awards Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics (1988)
Information at IDEAS/RePEc

Maurice Félix Charles Allais (born 31 May 1911) is a French economist, and was the 1988 winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics "for his pioneering contributions to the theory of markets and efficient utilization of resources."

Contents

The economist

Born in Paris, France, Allais graduated from the École Polytechnique in Paris and studied at the École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris. His academic and non-academic posts have included being Professor of Economics at the École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris (since 1944) and Director of its Economic Analysis Centre (since 1946). In 1949 he received a Doctor-Engineer title from the University of Paris, Faculty of Science. He also held teaching positions at various institutions, among which the University of Paris X-Nanterre.

As an economist he made contributions to decision theory, monetary policy and other areas. Given his reluctance to write or translate his work in English, many of his major contributions became known to the economic profession when they were independently rediscovered or popularized by English-speaking economists. For example, in one of his major works, Économie et Intérêt (1947), he introduced the first overlapping generations model (later popularized by Paul Samuelson in 1958), introduced the golden rule of optimal growth (lather popularized by Edmund Phelps) or described the transaction demand for money rule (later found in William Baumol's work).[1]

His name is particularly associated with what is commonly known as the Allais paradox, a decision problem he first presented in 1953 which contradicts the expected utility hypothesis.

In 1992, Maurice Allais criticized the Maastricht Treaty for its excessive emphasis on free trade. He also expressed reservations on the single European currency.[2] In 2005, he expressed similar reservations concerning the European constitution.[3]. The National Front and the Mouvement National Républicain both claim that their economic program is inspired by the ideas of Maurice Allais.[4][5]

His interest in physics

Besides his career in economics, Maurice Allais performed experiments between 1952 and 1960 in the field of gravitation, special relativity and electromagnetism, in order to investigate mutual links between these fields. He reported three effects with respect to these experiments:

  1. An unexpected anomalous effect in the angular velocity of the plane of oscillation of a paraconical pendulum, detected during two partial solar eclipses in 1954 and 1959. This effect is now called the Allais effect.
  2. Anomalous regularities in the oscillation of the paraconical pendulum, with periodicity 24h50min, which corresponds to the tidal lunar day.
  3. Anomalous regularities in optical theodolite measurements, with the same tidal periodicity.

Over the years, a number of pendulum experiments were performed by scientists around the world to verify his findings. However, the results were mixed[6].

Allais's explanation for his observations contradicts the theory of relativity.

Subsequently, in order to compare the optical anomaly with established experimental results, Prof. Allais performed a statistical analysis of the thousands of interferometer measurements of Dayton Miller and found periodicities corresponding with the sidereal day, the equinoxes and other celestial events.

According to Allais, the anomalous effects demonstrate an insofar unknown anisotropy of space, as well as an absolute velocity effect.

He disagrees with Robert S. Shankland's analysis of Miller's data, which many physicists consider as a conclusive dismissal of the subject. Shankland attributed the deviations from relativity predictions to systematic errors of readings and thermal instabilities, despite Miller's claims to the contrary. Actually, some physicists, like Alan Kostelecky, are testing the possibility of space anisotropy (totally unrelated to Allais' fringe work). This type of mainstream search is currently ongoing.[7]

Roger Balian wrote a note to rebut Allais's interpretation of Miller's result[8], which was in turn rebutted by Allais[9]

Allais is not only interested in physics, but also writes about physics history. In the relativity priority dispute, he sees Albert Einstein as a plagiarist and he denies the validity of the mainstream experimental data.[10] He often mixes the two subjects in the same papers.

Notable quotes

  • "In essence, the present creation of money, out of nothing by the banking system, is similar - I do not hesitate to say it in order to make people clearly realize what is at stake here - to the creation of money by counterfeiters, so rightly condemned by law."

Notes

  1. ^ History of economic thought website
  2. ^ L'Humanité (French) 17 September 1992
  3. ^ L'Humanité (French) 26 May 2005
  4. ^ National Front web site
  5. ^ Maurice Allais on Bruno Mégret's web site
  6. ^ Decrypting the Eclipse
  7. ^ [1] [2] [3]
  8. ^ "Remarques sur les notes de Maurice Allais [...]" Comptes rendus de l'Académie des sciences", 2000, t. 1, série IV p.249-250
  9. ^ "L'Origine des régularités constatéees dans les observations interférométriques de Dayton C. Miller 1925-1926 : variations de température ou anisotropie de l'espace" (with abridged English version), Comptes rendus de l'Académie des sciences, 2000, t. 1, série IV, p.1205-1210
  10. ^ Paradoxe

References

  • R. S. Shankland, S. W. McCuskey, F. C. Leone, and G. Kuerti, "New analysis of the interferometric observations of Dayton C. Miller", Rev. Mod. Phys. 27, 167–178 (1955).
  • R. S. Shankland, "Michelson's role in the development of relativity", Applied Optics 12 (10), 2280 (1973).

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Maurice Félix Charles Allais (born 31 May 1911) is a French economist, and was the 1988 laureate of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics "for his pioneering contributions to the theory of markets and efficient utilization of resources". Besides his career in economics, Maurice Allais performed experiments between 1952 and 1960 in the field of gravitation, special relativity and electromagnetism, and discovered the Allais effect.

Sourced

  • La soumission aux données de l'expérience est la règle d'or qui domine toute discipline scientifique.
    • Submission to the experimental data is the golden rule that dominates any scientific discipline.
    • in his speech when he was awarded the Academician sword, address to the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques (October 19, 1993).
  • Any author who uses mathematics should always express in ordinary language the meaning of the assumptions he admits, as well as the significance of the results obtained. The more abstract his theory, the more imperative this obligation.
    In fact, mathematics are and can only be a tool to explore reality. In this exploration, mathematics do not constitute an end in itself, they are and can only be a means.
  • Anyone who dares to speak about an aether is regarded as an ignorant and backward mind and he can only lose his credibility in scientific circles, although in reality those who criticize him use the same concept of intermediate medium in other words, whether it be fields, an associated fluid, a probability fluid, a pilot fluid, a quantum fluid, etc.
    • Maurice Allais (1997). L'anisotropie de l'espace. La nécessaire révision de certains postulats des théories contemporaines. Les données de l'expérience. Editions Clément Juglar, Paris. p. 506. ISBN 2-908735-09-1.  
  • A theory is only as good as its assumptions. If the premises are false, the theory has no real scientific value. The only scientific criterion for judging the validity of a scientific theory is a confrontation with the data of experience.
    • Maurice Allais (1997). L'anisotropie de l'espace. La nécessaire révision de certains postulats des théories contemporaines. Les données de l'expérience. Editions Clément Juglar, Paris. p. 591. ISBN 2-908735-09-1.  
  • Too many theorists have a tendency to ignore facts that contradict their convictions.
    • Maurice Allais (1997). L'anisotropie de l'espace. La nécessaire révision de certains postulats des théories contemporaines. Les données de l'expérience. Editions Clément Juglar, Paris. p. 640. ISBN 2-908735-09-1.  
  • In fact, without any exaggeration, the current mechanism of money creation through credit is certainly the "cancer" that's irretrievably eroding market economies of private property.
    • Maurice Allais (1999). La Crise mondiale d’aujourd’hui. Pour de profondes réformes des institutions financières et monétaires. Editions Clément Juglar, Paris. p. 74. ISBN 2-908735-11-3.  

External links

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