Andrew Pikler

photo neededIn economic thermodynamics, Andrew George Pikler (c.1910-c.1980) American electrical engineer (?) noted for his 1954-55 article “Utility, Theories in Field Physics and Mathematical Economics” in which he gave an overview of the use of mechanics and thermodynamics in economics in the early years and highlighting connections, such as between temperature and velocity of circulation of money. [1]

In 1947, American polymath John Neumann, in a letter to Jacob Marschak, in attempts to interest the Cowles Commission in the work of Pikler, wrote the following about Pikler and his discussion with him: [2]

“I want to tell you that I have talked to him about his ideas in considerable detail and that I have come to the conclusion that the model constructions which he likes to illustrate them are not very essential but that there is probably a very healthy nucleus in his way of using statistical ensembles and transition probabilities; i.e., in applying to the fluctuations of money those concepts which have turned out to be appropriate to gas and chemical kinetics. I think that his work deserves interest and encouragement.”

The gist of this aspect of Pikler’s theory seems to have come to fruition in his 1951-54 article “The Quanta-Kinetic Model of the Monetary Theory”, in which he describes the displacements of monetary units in the economic system on the kinetic theory of gases, similar to the way in which we are unable to describe the movements of individual molecules, case by case, but only globally via the ensemble. [3]

American physical economics historian Philip Mirowski classifies Pikler (1951) as a “further out neosimulator”, in the history of non-neoclassical or anti-neoclassical economics programs of the appropriation of physics metaphors, that he has stumbled upon in his research, along with: Johannes Lisman (1949), John Bryant (1982), Edwin Jaynes (1983), Giuseppe Palomba (1968), and Marc Lichnerowicz (1970). [3]

1. (a) Pikler, George. (1954). “Utility, Theories in Field Physics and Mathematical Economics (I)”, J. Philos Sci, 17: 47-58.
(b) Pikler, George. (1955). “Utility, Theories in Field Physics and Mathematical Economics (II)”, J. Philos Sci, 20: 303-18-58.
(c) Bryant, John (2009). Thermoeconomics: A Thermodynamic Approach to Economics (ch. 1: Introduction; ch. 3: Thermodynamic Principles; ch. 5: Money). VOCAT International Ltd.
2. Mirowski, Philip. (2002). Machine Dreams: Economics Becomes a Cyborg Science (pg. 150). Cambridge University Press.
3. (a) Pikler, Andrew G. (1951). “The Quanta-Kinetic Model of the Monetary Theory” (abs), Metroeconomica, 3(2): 70-95.
(b) Pikler, Andrew G. (1954). “The Quanta-Kinetic Model of the Monetary Theory: three additional appendices” (abs), Metroeconomica, 6(2): 72-75.
4. Mirowski, Philip. (1989). More Heat than Light: Economics as Social Physics, Physics as Nature’s Economics (pg. #). Cambridge University Press.

Further reading
‚óŹ Pikler, Andrew. (1951). “Optimum Allocation in Econometrics and Physics” (abs), Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv. Bd. 66; 97-132.

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