Obama may not understand that he does not deserve the Nobel Peace Prize.
This is typical of men: our filters for flattery work inversely from the degree of outrageousness.
That makes this the moment for Michelle Obama to sit Barack down and tell him clearly that he cannot accept the Nobel Peace Prize without having done something comparable and active that would put him on the same footing as other potential recipients.
This is a pass/fail test; with a stick for failing and no carrot for winning.
I'm glad they didn't dilute his award by making it joint with someone else. It's arguable that he did less work than some others in the area for which he is getting the award, but I personally think the stuff he did was more pathbreaking.
Krugman's theory relies on increasing-returns-to-scale - this is when getting bigger makes you more profitable. Krugman's insight was that this gives you an incentive to trade more widely. This explains a lot of things, but most fundamentally, why parties will trade the same thing with each other (like Ford and Mercedes selling cars in each others countries).
The only thing that bugs me about this award is that I'm having a hard time figuring out how the Nobel committee decides to bypass older economists for younger ones one year, and then to revisit the old ones the next year. This seems kind of arbitrary to me. There's been a shortage of awards lately for those born between 1935 and 1950 (and only 1 of the last 16 was born between 1935 and 1940). Did those folks do something wrong I don't know about?
I wonder if the people who choose the Nobel Peace Prize have been paying attention - here are some suggestions for worthy recipients:
...The Burmese monks whose defiance against, and brutalization
at the hands of, the country's military junta in recent weeks captured
the attention of the Free World.
... Morgan Tsvangirai,
Arthur Mutambara and other Zimbabwe opposition leaders who were
arrested and in some cases beaten by police earlier this year while
protesting peacefully against dictator Robert Mugabe.
... Father Nguyen Van Ly, a Catholic priest in
Vietnam arrested this year and sentenced to eight years in prison for
helping the pro-democracy group Block 8406.
... Wajeha al-Huwaider and Fawzia al-Uyyouni,
co-founders of the League of Demanders of Women's Right to Drive Cars
in Saudi Arabia, who are waging a modest struggle with grand ambitions
to secure basic rights for women in that Muslim country.
... Colombian President Álvaro Uribe, who has fought
tirelessly to end the violence wrought by left-wing terrorists and drug
lords in his country.
... Garry Kasparov and the several hundred Russians
who were arrested in April, and are continually harassed, for resisting
President Vladimir Putin's slide toward authoritarian rule.
... The people of Iraq, who bravely work to rebuild
and reunite their country amid constant threats to themselves and their
families from terrorists who deliberately target civilians.
... Presidents Viktor Yushchenko and Mikheil
Saakashvili who, despite the efforts of the Kremlin to undermine their
young states, stayed true to the spirit of the peaceful "color"
revolutions they led in Ukraine and Georgia and showed that democracy
can put down deep roots in Russia's backyard.
... Britain's Tony Blair, Ireland's Bertie Ahern and
the voters of Northern Ireland, who in March were able to set aside
decades of hatred to establish joint Catholic-Protestant rule in
... Thousands of Chinese bloggers who run the risk of arrest by trying to bring uncensored information to their countrymen.
... Scholar and activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim, jailed
presidential candidate Ayman Nour and other democracy campaigners in
Or, posthumously, to lawmakers Walid Eido, Pierre
Gemayel, Antoine Ghanem, Rafik Hariri, George Hawi and Gibran Tueni;
journalist Samir Kassir; and other Lebanese citizens who've been
assassinated since 2005 for their efforts to free their country from
Or to the Reverend Phillip Buck; Pastor Chun Ki Won
and his organization, Durihana; Tim Peters and his Helping Hands Korea;
and Liberty in North Korea, who help North Korean refugees escape to
safety in free nations.
These men and women put their own lives and
livelihoods at risk by working to rid the world of violence and
oppression. Let us hope they survive the coming year so that the Nobel
Prize Committee might consider them for the 2008 award.
I still think Jagdish Bhagwati is the top person without an award in an underrepresented field (trade).
There's a lot of talk about Sargent this year. I think I rank him even higher than most other folks. I don't think he'd win alone though. He could be paired with Barro (for new classical macro), with Sims (for dressing down simultaneous equation modeling), or with Hansen (for developing GMM). Frankly, I think any of those 4 could get it on their own if they live long enough.
There's also been a lot of talk about Martin Feldstein. Not this year - because of his association with AIG. Personally, I think he's overrated anyway - he has a huge cheering section from his former students. They've made enormous contributions on their own, but they don't give Nobel's for mentoring.
Here's a dark horse whose work might be recognized this year because it is fundamental to understanding financial bubbles: Philip Cagan.
Then there are some old standards: Fama and French, Dickey and Fuller, Johansen, Chow, Dixit and Helpman, and Romer.
Well ... I must sound like a Marxist ... covered most of the possibilities but didn't commit to any of them.
* There have been 4 awards since I started making predictions. Prescott and Kydland won in 2004 - I thought they would win eventually, but not while still so young. Aumann and Schelling won in 2005, and were not on my radar screen. Phelps won in 2006, and he was always high on my list but I thought the committee had passed him by. Last year, I had also given up on Hurwicz, but I had no clue that Maskin and Myerson were that big a deal.
What I'm walking away with with from all of this is that the award was a lot more Hayekian than I thought at first glance, and that I'm getting more suspicious of that position for a thou-doth-protest-to-much reason.
I was barely exposed to Hurwicz in graduate school, and not at all to Myerson and Maskin, so I'll defer to others.
The committee went towards micro again, and a lot of predictors (myself included) missed by a country mile. I wonder if this is because the papers are too hard, and more people gloss over them than they should (I've been guilty of that, although in this particular area underexposed might be a better description of my background).
For my part, I'd forgotten about Hurwicz. The awareness on the part of the committee that there is seminal micro out there from the 50s and 60s that has gone unrewarded means that Lionel McKenzie (and maybe even Uzawa) ought to go much higher on everyone's list in the future.
As for Maskin, I thought he was too young (and not important enough). I C-listed him the other day.
And Myerson wasn't even on my radar screen, other than as a name on reading lists.
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