Saturday, October 14, 2006

And the Nobel Peace Prize goes to...

The Grameen Bank rather than John Bolton? Clearly the Nobel Committee have been infiltrated by anti-American communists!

Jokes aside, the Grameen Bank are a worthy recipient. For those who haven't heard of them, they run a microcredit scheme in Bangladesh focusing on poor rural women, and aimed at helping them lift themselves out of poverty. A typical project involves loaning a poor widow the money to buy a cellphone; she sells calls to other people in her village, allowing her to repay the loan, feed her family, and send her kids to school. This is good work, and it has made a real difference to millions of people.

There were of course other candidates who were equally worthy. It's somewhat heartening that even in times as "interesting" as these, we can still find plenty of people whose work for peace and the betterment of humanity is more than worthy of international recognition - John Bolton obviously excluded.


You made me laugh with the Bolton thing, actually...

Posted by Anonymous : 10/14/2006 02:44:00 AM

I think peace may have a diferent meaning in swedish.
apparetly it means somthing like "heath" or "envoronment" still a good thing but peace?
Not sure who I would give it to..

maybe the government of China?

Posted by Genius : 10/14/2006 12:19:00 PM

Yep, it's upset some people alright; the Economist has called for the prize to be withheld rather than given to anti-poverty groups. They also seem to think that the world is peaceful enough that it isn't needed most years...

It takes a pretty narrow view of human security to view the alleviation of extreme poverty, and the hunger, sadness and torment that goes with it, as not contributing to 'peace'.

Posted by Anonymous : 10/14/2006 04:13:00 PM

Yes, but the greatest and fastest alleviation of human poverty in history is happening right now in China. Yet I'd hate to see Hu given the prize. You could argue that our reicpient is simply, a good business man, pursuing a good business strategy. What would people like Maia say about a capitalist BANK being awarded a peace prize?

Posted by Anonymous : 10/14/2006 04:46:00 PM


you can give them the prize for chemistry (after all many of those Bangladeshis might become chemists) and literature (it'll make a good book) and medicine (because I expect they employ doctors who do medicine stuff).

I think the fact that they give it out with money has clouded their decision making process. i.e. they want to give it to a worthy cause so they find a reason to do that. It would be better if they just gave 1 million to someone they think deserves it and the prize to someone who won it.

I’m sure there are lots of people who have fairly directly encouraged peaceful solution to conflicts around the world. Maybe they could refer to someone who is putting in a lot of effort trying to get a peaceful solution with Iran, Nth Korea, Sudan, chechnya or iraq or something.

they could be deeply anti-US AND actually pick someone who is working in the "peace" area.

Posted by Genius : 10/14/2006 04:58:00 PM

"Peace" isn't just stopping wars.

Posted by Anonymous : 10/14/2006 05:09:00 PM

"Peace is commonly understood to mean the absence of hostilities."

I think you are refering to the "good stuff" definition of peace

as per this guy

"Peace is any condition, state, or relationship that permits, or promotes the spontaneous development of the human being; any state that fosters the development of human potential."

this of course encompases all 'good things' and excludes all 'bad things' so "good stuff" is the more precise way to say it.

"good stuff" is also a translation in the lexicon of cetain people for terms such as 'mainstream' or 'white' or 'mature' or 'rich' depending on who says them.

Posted by Genius : 10/14/2006 06:53:00 PM

Eliminating poverty is a step towards eliminating hostility. They certainly deserve it more than Kissinger.

Posted by Anonymous : 10/14/2006 08:54:00 PM

Despite Alfred Nobel declaring it would be given "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses", the Nobel Peace Prize has always been given to people and organisations beyond those concerned with ending and preventing conflict. The first (1901) was awarded to the founder of the Red Cross, and a number in the first half of the twentieth century went to aid organisations, especially those concerned with refugees. After World War II winners included Martin Luther King Jr (1964), Norman Borlaug (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, awarded 1970) and Mother Teresa (1979).

Posted by Anonymous : 10/14/2006 10:13:00 PM

I'm surprised the Economist would be against the Grameen Bank getting the Nobel Peace Prize. I think they're critical of the re-definition of the prize recipient's credentials rather than being against the Grameen Bank and its business per se. The Economist did a survey of microfinance last year (subscribers can access it here: which was rather complimentary of the unorthodox ways of micro-credit. If orthodox ways of financing third world development don't work then new ways are always welcome.

Posted by Hans Versluys : 10/15/2006 04:33:00 PM

Micro credit is very good
its a market failure in a sense, and countries that use it can do very well. and Grameen Bank does make a profit.

Posted by Genius : 10/15/2006 07:18:00 PM