re: Cheapening the Nobel

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While I still have some respect for the Nobel prizes in hard sciences, where actual usefulness of discoveries and insights can be somewhat exhibited,  the rest of them are all pretty much jokes.  The Nobel prizes in economics and “peace” have been clearly political shows for decades. Al Gore and Gorbachev are just two of the murderous politicians who have received the “peace” prize. And now Obama. It’s almost a parody of itself.

And then there’s the economics prize. Oh, what great dignitary will join Paul Krugman and Paul Samuelson in spreading the worst economic errors of our time as Nobel Laureates? Maybe Obama will win the prize in economics too!

I hope that the next time I refer to “Nobel Prize Winner F.A. Hayek,” someone slaps me across the face. Such references only grant legitimacy to such a ridiculous award.

Interestingly, I noted  while reading H.L. Mencken’s diary that he routinely counseled his friends to refuse both the Nobel prize in literature and the Pulitzer prize. Mencken observed that most winners of these awards immediately began to produce much less impressive work, and he regarded the business of giving out such awards to be something worthy of the lowest (or perhaps highest) form of contempt.

UPDATE: Writes EM:

As we’ve mentioned on the blog before, the economics prize doesn’t even come from the great Mr. Nobel, but is a PR stunt of the central bank:

Alfred Nobel made no mention of an economics prize in his will. The Swedish central bank funds the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, having started the prize as part of its 300th Anniversary celebrations. I would prefer a Count Dracula Memorial Prize in Medicine.  Anyone taking the prize is taking cash from Swedish taxpayers—a busy bunch. I regard the Nobel Peace Prize and the now defunct Lenin Peace Prize as virtually interchangeable. Only in the hard sciences do the prizes tend to go to truly deserving individuals. I do wonder which “charity” will receive Mr Obama’s prize money. It would be better thrown into paying off the National Debt (if you think people who lend a government money deserve to get it back).

11:34 am on October 10, 2009