Thursday, 4 July 2013

Does a Nobel in Economics Still Make Sense?

Does the Nobel Prize in Economics still make sense today? Given the horrendous state of the World economy, it is clear that the “science of the economy” has failed. The words "economy meltdown" have been pronounced so many times in the past few years that there seems to be little doubt as to how the economy is doing. While other fields of knowledge have scored some spectacular successes, economics seems to be that one branch in which we are having pretty serious and global trouble:
  •  We have a crisis of which we still need to appreciate the depth and magnitude. And it has been a few years now since it has started.
  • We are still busy trying to figure out why we have the crisis.
  •  There seems to be no end in sight.
  • Nobody knows what to do to get out of the crisis.
  • The economy seems to be a system out of control.
  • The fact that the Euro could collapse (even the European Union itself) is commented with nonchalance as if one were commenting a football game, is a shameless admission of failure on all fronts.
The above list is, de facto, a description of failure.

The question, therefore, is this: if you exercise a practice or a discipline which contributes to the destruction of wealth on a global scale, produces more poor every year, destroys the middle class and is unable to predict a global meltdown of the object of its studies and concerns, does it make sense to award prizes to those who practice that very discipline? One could argue that it is still possible to perform outstanding work in that field and it is the (academic) work that is rewarded, not the results of that work. Yes, true, but still, it is a bit like sending a CEO home with tens of millions for having brilliantly driven a company into the ground.