Monday, October 23, 2006

On Nobel prize recipients

/ nobel reactions /
In light of the recent Nobel prize awards in Economics and Peace, let me present for the sake of argument some critical commentary:

Girish Mishra
: Meaning of the Nobel Peace Prize to Phelps. Excerpt:

Assuming that a government tries to maintain the natural rate of unemployment as computed according to the formula of Phelps, it means a number of workers who possess the necessary qualifications and physical ability to participate in the process of production and contribute to the national wealth, are told that they are redundant. It is sure to hurt their self-respect and inculcate a feeling in them that the government and economy have no relevance for them. If they, in these circumstances, have no stake in the society, country and the economy, they may take to subversive activities and to some kind of nihilism or commit suicide. It is a sad commentary on the system that allows people to spend valuable resources in acquiring requisite capabilities and skills and when they acquire them and are ready to contribute, they are told that they are unwanted. How humiliating it is!

Notwithstanding all the sophistications of Phelps' analysis and models, his pontifications violate human dignity. His kind of economics may earn a Nobel prize and endear him to monopoly capital in the present era of globalization, it cannot be accepted by people who care for human dignity and think that human beings must be at the of all economic policies.

Alexander Cockburn: The Myth of Microloans. Excerpt:

...microlending can be a useful tool but it should not be romanticized as some sort of transformational activity. On that plane it's useless. By contrast, as Bob Pollin stresses, "the East Asian Tigers, like South Korea and Taiwan, relied for a generation on massive publicly-subsidized credit programs to support manufacturing and exports.
They are now approaching West European living standards. Poor countries now need to adapt the East Asian macro-credit model to promote not simply exports, but land reform, marketing cooperatives, a functioning infrastructure, and most of all, decent jobs."

Walden Bello: Microcredit, Macro Issues. Excerpt:

So probably the best way we can honor Muhammad Yunus is to say, Yes, he deserves the Nobel Prize for helping so many women cope with poverty. His boosters discredit this great honor and engage in hyperbole when they claim he has invented a new compassionate form of capitalism--social capitalism, or "social entrepreneurship"--that will be the magic bullet to end poverty and promote development.

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