Home > Uncategorized > Willian Nordhaus can’t keep his “Nobel Prize” because he doesn’t have one.

Willian Nordhaus can’t keep his “Nobel Prize” because he doesn’t have one.

Willian Nordhaus can’t keep his “Nobel Prize” because he doesn’t have one. Alfred Nobel never set up a prize for economics because he recognised that it is not a science – not even a “dismal science” – and that most of the research has little to do with the real world, being founded on ideas which are palpably untrue.

What Nordhaus has is a Swedish Banker’s prize for promoting neo-liberal ideas about money for the benefit of the world’s super rich. They call it the “Nobel Prize” despite Nobel’s wishes and the efforts of his family to have the title removed.

This economics prize is routinely dished out to people who promote right-wing ideas in an attempt to give them added respectability. They have been, to the world’s great loss, horribly successful on this endeavour. It is no surprise that Nordhous’s ideas are as bad as they are, firstly because classical economics is not capable of dealing with the sorts of problem climate change poses to the world; and secondly because the purpose of the award is to give the bankers/financiers/capitalists/plutocrats (add more to taste) cover for what they intended to do anyway.

I am sure Steve Keen is aware of all of this but it is sad to see someone of his stature accepting the basis of this fake “Nobel Prize”. We need more political-economic thinkers like Professor Keen to both expose the fake ideas of people like Nordhaus and also to promote real ideas about money and economics with a base in the real world and a concience about the consequences of our current path.

Ken Patterson

  1. fred
    September 21, 2019 at 4:38 pm

    there are also no Nobel prizes for the “hard” or historical sciences – paleontology, archeology, taxonomy – Nobel was a chemist, and it shows in what he considered prizeworthy

    • Robert Locke
      September 22, 2019 at 10:07 am

      What bothers me is all this fuss about “science”. If nobody has managed to turn enonomics into a science in a natural science sense, a lot of progress has been made in economics related fields of study like entrepreneurialism and management to sharpen the discussion about how their study can be made formally more useful. Henry Mintzberg, for example, in his work on Managers Not MBAs, shows the worthlessness of the study programs elite US business school MBA programs developed postWWII in terms of teaching anybody about how to manage. The Germans, when they set up their business studies programs c. 1900 never followed the idea of the MBA, because management, everybody agreed, could not be taught as a generic subject. So you learned specialities (accounring, marketing, finance, etc.P); post experience education was carried on in the firm or in nonacademic institutions, as in Japan, i.e.JUSE. If you don’t think management can be taught as science, and throw it out of the discussion accordingly, you are also throwing out what very useful stuff we have learned about how management can be taught.

  2. September 22, 2019 at 1:51 am

    To be fair, Steve Keen has written frequently and cogently on the non-Nobelness of the Rijksbank prize. In this case, the site he was posting for ask for 400-450 word pieces. Under the circumstances, sticking to the substance of climate change and not using up words on a digressionwas entirely understandable, I’d say!

    After all, Nordhaus did most of the damage before he received his prize, not after…

    Best wishes

  3. J R
    September 22, 2019 at 10:16 am

    «Alfred Nobel never set up a prize for economics because he recognised that it is not a science – not even a “dismal science” – and that most of the research has little to do with the real world, being founded on ideas which are palpably untrue.»

    The first clause of the sentence is true, the second sounds false. Did Nobel ever specifically say he didn’t want to award something to Economics? I hardly doubt that. Economics only started to get accepted as a science at the end of the XIX century, when the Prize was set-up.

    Please refrain from putting words in someone else’s mouth – moreso those of the dead.

    To note, this is not a comment against the point of the article, but this misrepresentation of history should be allowed to pass unchallenged.

  4. Helen Sakho
    September 26, 2019 at 12:28 am

    Without a thorough understanding of Political Economy, nothing can really be digested or taken forward by way of enriching our knowledge of the real world. The segmentation of different branches of economics, away from the fundamentals has been an absolute disaster. It has meant mainstream economists focusing on one entrenched position, often out of context, ignoring connections between social phenomena. Poor Nobel must be even more disappointed now…

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