Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Nobel Prize Nominations

The 2012 Nobel Peace Prize winner will be announced on Friday October 12. The 2012 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel winner will be announced on Monday October 15.

Given the horrific winners of many past awards (Barack Obama, the Peace Prize?), here's a few suggestions for the Nobel committee.

My nominations for the Peace Prize are:

Ron Paul and Lew Rockwell

We all know what a great non-interventionist message Ron Paul has communicated during his presidential campaign. His message has resonated with many, especially the young, so it will carry on, and one day, because of Dr. Paul's message we may actually live in a world of peace.

Lew Rockwell is a real sleeper candidate, but his heroic web site, LewRockwell.com, I am convinced launched the Ron Paul presidential campaign into the orbit that the establishment still worries about. To this day LRC is the number one anti-empire site, where internet readers can visit to get the real scoop on the world and why we don't need wars but free trade and peace.

My nominations for the Nobel Prize in economics are:

Thomas Sowell, Israel Kirzner and Walter Block

Thomas Sowell has advanced the study of race and ethnicity and has pointed to the manner in which government has obstructed the advancement of minorities. It is remarkable the degree to which Sowell, a black man, is not known even within the black community.

Sowell once taught economics at Howard University, yet in discussions with Howard students, I have yet to find one who has ever heard of him. Since 1980 he has been a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Just this weekend I asked a woman who had an advanced degree from Stanford, if she had ever heard of Sowell. She had no idea. It's time the Nobel committee put him on the map, so that many more can learn about the true ethnic struggles and cultures that are hardly taught at all in schools at any level and so that more can learn about the danger consequences of government interventions inside ethnic groups and cultures .

Israel Kirzner will be a controversial choice within parts of the Austrian economic community, but I believe his work on entrepreneurship is not yet fully appreciated. The fact that he sees the  entrepreneur as a figure that is different from the laborer and the capitalist has very significant policy implications. If the Kirznerian view of entrepreneurship is correct, and I believe it is, this provides yet another reason to not coddle the poor. Teach the poor about entrepreneurship and let them then go out and lift themselves from poverty, rather than allowing them to think politics is the way to a better standard of living. If Kirzner is correct, all they need are insights, not capital.

Just a year ago, I would not have added Walter Block to this list, but the more and more I think about his book, Defending the Undefendable, and other writings where Block has written observations about extreme liberty and economics, I have begun to see the great service that Block has done. No one else has thought or written about liberty and economics from these perspectives.

One really has to think if he had not rushed to the defense of, from an economic and libertarian perspective, the prostitute, scab, slumlord, libeler, moneylender and others, would anyone else have, ever? It's a special kind of genius that can recognize such a gaping hole in theory and then on top of that make the defense of these "undefendables" look easy at a practical level. This is great thinking that makes an important contribution to society.

I believe that Friedrich Hayek meant every word when he wrote to Dr. Block about the book:
Looking through Defending the Undefendable made me feel that I was once more exposed to the shock therapy by which, more than fifty years ago, the late Ludwig von Mises converted me to a consistent free market position. … Some may find it too strong a medicine, but it will still do them good even if they hate it. A real understanding of economics demands that one disabuses oneself of many dear prejudices and illusions. Popular fallacies in economic frequently express themselves in unfounded prejudices against other occupations, and showing the falsity of these stereotypes you are doing a real services, although you will not make yourself more popular with the majority.