a Nobel Prize in what now?
August 7, 2006 1 Comment
A great blog post by TS:
Unless you hail from Sweden, you probably never heard of a guy by the name of Gunnar Myrdal.
He was a life-long technocrat, a do-gooder that lived off the dole of the Swedish taxpayer, and a dedicated socialist whose professional training was in economics. While he was a proto-Keynesian (a Keynesian before Keynes), what really separated him from hoi polloi was this: he was instrumental in establishing the Nobel Prize in Economics.
You see, before ol’ Alfred Nobel passed on into the Eternal abyss, he established a trust fund that bears his name. And from this fund, monetary awards are divvied up each year to recognize five different fields of inquiry, none of which is Economics.
That didn’t stop Gunnar though. Give and take, he shrewdly played the game of politics and convinced various governmental divisions in Sweden to approve a new award. He even got the Bank of Sweden – the world’s oldest central bank — to finance this new award, in Honor of Alfred Nobel (note: the Nobel trust fund is privately managed).
The prize got the go-ahead and was ultimately christened in 1969 … however fewer than five years go by when one big conflict of interest arises: he is nominated and wins the Nobel Prize in Economics. Imagine that.
And that’s not the only twist — he actually shares it with an advocate of free-markets, F.A Hayek.
So, a socialist, whose publications promote Keynesianism, wins alongside someone whose laissez-faire theories are diametrically opposite to his. How much credibility does the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences have now? Oy vey!
Mirabile dictu, Gunnar Myrdal, who was the architect of interventionism and did much to promote the welfare state in Sweden, as in other parts of the world, had this to say: “The organized welfare state has gone mad … It (the strike) has become a class struggle, with judges, academics and civil servants seeing the lower classes creep up on them … It’s an impossible situation.”
There is a measure of poetic justice in the anguish of Gunnar Myrdal and the other academics in Sweden who promoted the equalitarian society, and are now hoist by their own petard.
Fertig’s essay was written in the spring of 1971. Mises dies in 1973. Myrdal wins the Nobel prize in 1974.
One last wrinkle, the Nobel Peace Prize. Oddly enough, the stereotypically Statist-leaning Norwegian Nobel Committee is charged with awarding the Peace Prize each year (long story short, Norway once “belonged to” Sweden). Its five members are appointed by the interventionist-friendly Norwegian parliament.
In 1984 it went to Alva Myrdal. She was Gunnar’s wife and a life-long promoter of State intervention through a sundry of welfare schemes.
Phrase of the day: nepotistic kleptocrats.