The Nobel Prize: Way Deadlier, More Damaging and Evil Than Dynamite
The Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel famously created his various prizes (Peace; Literature, etc) in a fit of a remorse at having invented dynamite. But from our precarious position at the beginning of the 21st Century, I think it's now pretty clear to most of us which of his inventions has done the most damage. And it certainly ain't those innocent explosives.
I'm thinking in particular of Paul Krugman.
Sure there are plenty of other bad examples: the award of the Nobel Peace prize to terrorist Yasser Arafat; to Al Gore (for what? services to rent-seeking and junk science?); and, of course, the recent one to that famous seller-out of American values to the forces of global despotism, Barack Obama. But I don't think any of these disastrous choices comes even close to matching the harm done by the decision to award (in 2008) the Economics prize to a shameless Neo-Keynesian like Krugman.
Keynesian economic theory was tested to destruction in the 1930s when - thanks, FDR! - it helped to prolong the Great Depression. Experimenting with it again - as the Obama administration is doing with its successive rounds of Quantitative Easing - reminds me of an old joke about an Irish gambler. The one who lost £50 betting on the actual horse race; then another £100 betting on the action replay.
Were any of you as terrified as I was the other day when Obama dared Republicans to join him in supporting his latest $400 billion plus Stimulus 2.0 package? Isn't this a bit like being dared by Beavis & Butthead to stick a firework up your own fundament and light the taper because "Hey, the effects could be really cool!"? Isn't it also a bit final-scene-of-Downfall? The deranged Fuhrer in his bunker, plotting his Gotterdammerung with divisions that no longer even exist....
Obviously, I can't be certain none of this would have happened if Krugman had been denied his Nobel Prize. But at least without it, he would simply have been the guy with the beard in the New York Times whose writings you can safely ignore because he's always totally wrong about everything. Whereas with it, he's Paul Krugman, Nobel-Prize-winning guru, explaining again and again to the many gullible fools who take the Nobel seriously as a badge of expertise and authority why actually it makes perfect sense to take wheelbarrow loads of borrowed dollars and tip them into a huge black hole.
"In the long run we're all dead," said Keynes, explaining why it was perfectly OK for an economy to run up massive debts - because they could always be deferred to the next generation.
That was the theory. But here's the reality: Keynes is dead; but we're still around, living the nightmare that he helped create. With a little help of course from Alfred Nobel, Barack Obama and Paul Krugman.