October 13, 2006

"Every single individual on earth has both the potential and the right to live a decent life."

"Across cultures and civilizations, Yunus and Grameen Bank have shown that even the poorest of the poor can work to bring about their own development," said the Nobel Committee, announcing its Peace Prize.

18 comments:

yetanotherjohn said...

Stop the world I want to get off. I can actualy support a decision by the Nobel peace prize. Could muslim riots in Sweeden have punctured the Norwegian psyche to a point that they could recognize that Hamas and Hezbolah are not actors for peace?

Anonymous said...

Great decision by the committee, and I too am deeply, deeply shocked.

Not only is it Friday the 13th, but it must be Freaky Friday the 13th.

Anonymous said...

Please note that no one's interested in this guy because he's actually helping people instead of yammering about how evil money is. We don't need this guy! We need rent control! Yeah! that's the ticket!

PJ O'Rourke wrote about this guy and his bank twenty years ago.

You have to read obscure books by drunken humorists to find out about such things. George Bailey is right under our nose, while we're all wondering what Katie is wearing while she wonders aloud one more time: is Bush Mr. Potter, or Hitler?

Maybe she'll hold her nose tonight, and mention the guy. You know, while she mentions that he's no Harold Pinter.

Simon said...

"Every single individual on earth has both the potential and the right to live a decent life" - but only after they're born, naturally.

Revenant said...

Stop the world I want to get off. I can actualy support a decision by the Nobel peace prize.

They get it right about half the time. For every Kissinger, Arafat, or Carter you get a Borlaug, Yunus or Maathai. The former just get more press because we already know who they are.

Pogo said...

I love these guys.

Micro-lending leading to peace.
Real improvement of circumstance (not just rearranging the furniture).
Real social justice.
Real advancement for women.

Be fruitful, and multiply.

Anonymous said...

Didn't know Muhammad Yunus was susceptible to the usual marxist anti-capitalist twaddle.

That doesn't change the fact that the microcredit programs he pioneered have been fantastically successful in bringing some dignity to some horrendously undignified corners of the world.

Looking at the website for his autobiography there are approving quotes from Sen. Clinton and Pres. Carter.

That's pretty damning evidence in my book, but I won't hold it against him.

John Borell, Jr. said...

Holy crap, is that a pig that just flew by my window?

The Nobel Peace Prize to a guy who is using capitalism to improve the lives of the poor. I'm literally speechless. Words are forming in my head, but they won't come out.

Pogo said...

Re: "there are approving quotes from Sen. Clinton and Pres. Carter."

Leftism always looks approvingly on the romantic ideal of small economics, like little farms and basket weaving. Marx would have approved as well.

Where they fall down is the inevitable next step, when basket weavers discover the efficiencies of division of labor, pooled resources, machines, and global trade. Soon they have opened a little factory, then a bigger one, employing more and more people, and simultaneously losing the halo they wear from being just barely more than downtrodden.

Put differently, when one of these women eventually owns a flat in New York across from Mrs. Clinton, I doubt they'll be friends. Much better for a West Bengali artisan to make one saree than 10,000. You've got to know your place.

Christy said...

I'm impressed. But will he be targeted now for jihad? Empowering women and all...

I'd never heard of this program and I find it makes me happy. I needed happy today.

Coco said...

"Didn't know Muhammad Yunus was susceptible to the usual marxist anti-capitalist twaddle."

And here I thought this was a quote from either Jesus (who was a radical ya know) or George Bush (who's not, unless he believes in the former, in which case he is). Both could say it.

Eli Blake said...

Uh, I wonder what some of you have been reading?

The Nobel peace prize is awarded to someone who has done something for the cause of peace (which 'human rights' has become largely synonymous with 'peace' in the framework they award it in.)

If a Kissinger or an Arafat can bring about peace then that is who they award it to. If there has been no single accomplishment during the past year then they might give it to a Jimmy Carter (somewhat of a lifetime achievement award and also partly an acknowlegement that they screwed up by not including him when they gave it to Sadat and Begin since if he hadn't kept pushing there would never have been an Egyptian-Israeli accord), or to someone like this who has built something over a lifetime that has improved human rights.

A third category is a human rights activist who has spoken out against an evil regime that disrespects human rights in a place like the Soviet Union, Poland, Guatemala, China, South Africa or Myanmar. The fact that Americans cheered when Andrei Sakharov, Lech Walesa and the Dalai Lama won it, jeered when Desmond Tutu and Rigoberta Menchu won it, and have no clue on who Aung San Suu Kyi is or whether she should have it or not shows that many look at things only through their ideological glasses. Pick a human rights advocate from a country we don't like, and the Nobel Prize committee is right on target. Pick one from a country that our government has friendly relations with, and all of a sudden the committee is full of America haters. GROW UP!

Unfortunately people who think that war is a good way to solve problems don't understand the thinking behind the peace prize committee.

And I guarantee you that if someone brokers a peaceful dissolution of Iraq into three countries (as opposed to the violent one that will happen sooner or later anyway in spite of our efforts to hold it together) then that person will get a Nobel peace prize, whether they are a Democrat, a Republican or someone who is not an American at all.

Revenant said...

Eli,

The purpose of the Peace Prize is to recognize "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". This has since been simplified to mean people who promote peace in general. The award is not supposed to be for activities taken in the previous year -- that's a relatively recent fad, and a foolish one given that it takes decades to tell if a peace will last.

But by *any* standard, giving the award to Arafat or Kissinger was silly. Arafat won for the Oslo accords, which he negotiated in bad faith, failed to implement, and discarded in favor of the new intifada. Kissinger, meanwhile, won for the "Paris Peace Accords". Those accords did nothing to end the war, and the North's empty recognition of the South's right to sovereignity didn't keep the North from conquering it.

As for giving the award to Carter, it is hard to see how he deserves it when Begin and Sadat were the ones who developed the plan. It would have made more sense to award it to the US Government, since the peace between Egypt and Israel only exists because we keep bribing Egypt to keep it year after year.

Americans [...] jeered when Desmond Tutu and Rigoberta Menchu won it

Uh... what? Americans jeered when Tutu won? In what universe? Tutu was generally seen as a reasonable anti-racism activist, who spoke out against both government racism and against terrorist acts by anti-apartheid groups. As for Menchu, well, she might have been jeered, if anyone in America knew who the heck she was. Had she won while the Cold War was still going on her leftist radicalism might have inspired jeers. But she won in 1992, when few people cared about Guatelmalan insurgencies anymore.

Pick one from a country that our government has friendly relations with, and all of a sudden the committee is full of America haters. GROW UP!

Far be it from me to knock down your strawman. I would say that the committee is full of socialists who tend to reward like-minded people regardless of what country they're from. But the biggest flaw with the Peace Prize is that it is supposd to be awarded to people who do the most for peace, not for people who sign a meaningless treaty or two.

Be said...

Was shocked by this, given the previous awards.

I've actually donated money to systems based on the current laureate's theses. Wow...actually got something right for once.

Chum said...

"I love these guys."

I can die happy. A post from Pogo I'm in complete agreement with.

2005 was the year of microcredit - there are forty or so organizations (non-profit and for profit) on-line who do this. It's also becoming quite profitable to invest in the 'for profits' given the 98% rate of loan pay-off.

I think the concept is great, helping ppl establish themselves through their own efforts. I saw an interview sometime this year with a young woman from a somewhere incredibly poor (Burkino Faso I think). She was attending university in the US entirely due to a donation to a family in her village from World Vision of one goat. The profit from selling the milk from one goat purchased another goat, and so on. One freaking goat made all the difference to one village! The young woman was going to become a doctor and return to her country...she also said she was going to buy a few more goats.

After watching the interview I went and bought a couple of goats, some chickens, and rabbits, through World Vision myself. Best money I ever spent
.

Jim said...

"Every single individual on earth has both the potential and the right to live a decent life" -

but not to pollute the planet with her unwanted offspring.

JDM said...

I read about Grameen Bank in "All the Trouble in the World", I think it was, just like Mr Cottage.

I am a little confused though - at least not a blatantly political decision, but not exactly the promotion of world peace (unless one takes the view that undermining the patriarchy of the Islamic world is a long term fix to its problems).

A worthy individual, but I suppose who has contributed anything to world peace of late?

no1special said...

i think madonna should have won...that shit was rigged!