Tuesday, July 8, 2014

R.I.P. | Michael Intriligator, Peace and Security Strategist

Michael Intriligator
I was greatly saddened to hear today of the recent death from cancer of Prof. Michael Intriligator of UCLA. I got to know Mike on a November 1990 visit to Moscow and other Russian cities during a two-week business mission and conference on military conversion in the newly opened-up Soviet Union.

The event was co-sponsored by the Council on Economic Priorities and the Moscow-based Institute of World Economy and International Affairs (IMEMO). One of the questions before the conference was whether what was left of the Soviet Union would allow economy-wide market forces to do the job of converting military resources to civilian ones (guns to butter) or whether it would be done "narrowly", factory by factory, based on instructions from above.

While Sovietologists (themselves a soon-to-be-extinct species) were debating the latter idea, the former took place. Workers couldn't wait for a government conversion program. In the interim they weren't being paid. So in many cases they took with them what they could carry from the factories in lieu of payment, and they tried to create new businesses or work for someone else who was starting up a new entity.

Mike made his academic reputation early on in mathematical economics and econometrics, and was able to divide his time between writing and editing quantitative-oriented handbooks, which came easily to him, and international policy research which I had the feeling became his major passion later in life.

UCLA's announcement of Mike's death. He has been at
UCLA since 1963.
He wanted to contribute to peace–a realistic peace that recognized the existence of rogues and rogue states and rogue alliances.

When Mike joined our conference on conversion he was Director of the Center of International and Strategic Studies.

He was proud of having academic appointments in both the Economics and Political Science Departments at UCLA. (Later, he added a third, Public Policy.)

His biographical listings feature several contributions he made to furthering "Global Security After the End of the Cold War," the title of his Presidential Address to the Peace Science Society in 1994.

He also wrote about health policy and back in 1993 favored expansion of Medicare - the single-payer system that looks even better from the vantage point of 2014 than it did a quarter-century ago. He was frequently invited to serve as an expert witness on health economic issues for two decades.

Mike Intriligator (L) and President Jimmy Carter.
He received his Ph.D. in Economics from MIT after receiving an M.A. from Yale, where he was the recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship..

His earliest work involved the development of models and analytic frameworks using economics, decision theory, control theory and other tools to analyze and better understand fundamental economic and societal problems.  He wrote the standard work on Mathematical Optimization and Economic Theory (1971), now in its 13th printing.

His later work shifted toward identifying real policy options in the areas of health care reform and global security. He was concerned about the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and this led him to share the conference interest in strategies for a transition from a militaristic economy in Russia to one that would cater more to consumers. Mike was interested in how conversion would affect income distribution and enterprise restructuring, and he was interested in the role of institutions in converting from a dirigiste to a market economy.

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies, he has tackled the thorniest geopolitical issues, such as arms races, arms control, nuclear proliferation, accidental nuclear war, and paths toward global security.

He has testified before the U.S. Commission on Improving the Effectiveness of the United Nations and served as a consultant to the Center for National Security Studies at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and other organizations.
Mike at an ECAAR panel, AEA
meetings 1995. Photo by JT Marlin.

From 1982 to 1992, he directed the UCLA Center for International and Strategic Affairs. A member of the editorial boards of Economic Directions, Defense and Peace Economics and Conflict Management and Peace Science, he wrote or edited more than 200 professional and general articles and scholarly texts.

A fellow of the Econometric Society, Intriligator was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

After we returned from the conversion conference in Moscow, Mike and I served together for many years as officers and members of the Executive Committee of Economists Allied for Arms Reduction (ECAAR). For the next decade he was Vice Chairman and I was Treasurer, the second Treasurer in ECAAR's history because the founder, Robert Schwartz, put himself from the beginning in the Treasurer position.

Mike was always eager to help with projects and fund-raising, the latter being a rarer offering among volunteers. He could always be counted on to review documents before publication and he invariably provided needed and useful comments. During all the years we worked together at ECAAR he went out of his way to show respect for other people (everyone had a seat at the table) and he called anyone out who appeared to be deviating from this principle.

His obituary has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, where a Guest Book may be signed. Mike used to talk, with justifiable pride, of his wife Devrie, a well-known space physicist, and their four sons - Kenneth (married to Gina), a professor of Physics at UCSD; James (married to Susanne), a professor of Psychology and Innovation at Bangor University in the UK; William (married to Lisa), a symphony orchestra conductor and director in Dubuque, Iowa and Cheyenne, Wyo.; Robert, a Los Angeles composer of music; and nine grandchildren. His brother, Marc Intriligator (married to Roxann) is a New York real estate lawyer.

Mike's family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the American Cancer Society or to the Michael D. Intriligator Memorial Fund at Economists for Peace and Security, Levy Institute, Box 5000, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504 (to make an online donation go to this link).

No comments:

Post a Comment