ATTALI, JACQUES (1943– ), French economist and special adviser to President Mitterrand. Attali was born in Algiers and was educated there and in France. In 1981 he was appointed special adviser to President Mitterrand and in that capacity was influential on both internal and foreign issues and was sent on several highly confidential missions. In addition to being an economist (he holds a Ph.D. in economics among many other high-level degrees from prestigious French academic institutions), he is a philosopher and has written a number of works which include Analyse économique de la vie politique (1973), Modèles politiques (1973), L'Anti-économique (1974), La parole et l'Outil (1975), La Nouvelle economie française (1978), and Les Trois Mondes (1981). Before taking office in the Socialist government, Attali was very active in Jewish affairs and held the post of vice president of the Fonds Social Juif.
In 1990 Attali was appointed to a four-year term as president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (berd) with headquarters in London. From 1993 he was chairman of A&A, an international consulting firm, and in 1998 founded Planet Finance, an international non-profit organization devoted to fighting poverty through the development of microfinance. His wide knowledge in numerous fields combined with his interest in the evolution of civilizations led him to write essays on futurology such as Lignes d'horizons (1990) and L'Homme nomade (2003) as well as novels, from science fiction (La vie éternelle, 2000) to historical novels (La Confrérie des Eveillés, 2004). In 2001, he analyzed from an historical perspective the relationships between Jews and money in Les Juifs, le monde et l'argent.
[Gideon Kouts /
Dror Franck Sullaper (2nd ed.)]