A little over a week ago, I started considering the upcoming Nobel Peace Prize, and started speculating about who it would go to this year. The Prize has become a joke at best, and I made several snarky nominations about who this year’s honoree would be.
Well, the Committee has spoken, and I have to say that I can’t say anything bad about this year’s choice. I first heard about the Grameen Bank in P. J. O’Rourke’s “All The Trouble In The World,” and was impressed then. They seem to actually be doing something worthwhile.
That being said, I find myself wishing that they had not won the Nobel Peace Prize.
As I said, the Prize has become a joke. By finding a worthwhile organization to bestow it upon, they ruin the trend and give people a false sense of hope that it might actually be a prize to be respected. It also gives credibility to the worthless sacks (Arafat, Carter, Annan, UN Peacekeeping Forces) who have been so “honored” in the past.
But the Grameen Bank certainly deserves praise.
So why not nominate it for the Nobel Prize for Economics?
The bank’s goals might have been humanitarian, but they were not simple do-gooders. They found a way to harness the power of a free economy and channel it into solid, quantifiable, measurable, real improvements in people’s lives. I’m sure that Dr. Edmund Phelps’ “analysis of intertemporal tradeoffs in macroeconomic policy” is very impressive, but will it actually have anywhere near the immediate effect the Grameen Bank’s works have?
I find myself thinking that the Grameen Bank’s victory was just a sop to keep the Prize from descending even further into the den of absurdity it is currently mired in, and that’s not right. The Grameen Bank should be praised — but more importantly, it should be emulated. They’ve found a great way to actually help people, and as they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Not lumping them in with useful idiots, kleptocrats, terrorists, and useless clods.