Friday, October 13, 2006

A Nobel for the poor

We would be glad if Shashi Tharoor got the top UN job — after all, we both have playfully appropriated recent history of Desh, albeit his is a lot better known than ours. Tharoor didn't get the job.

We would be glad if Jagdish Bhagwati won the economics Nobel. We nominated him last year for top public intellectuals. Bhagwati didn’t get into the top 5 last year. And he didn’t get the Nobel either, even though he has been a favorite since the early 1990s. At least he takes it in good humor — he is alleged to have said that he might become the second famous Gujerati to not win a Nobel.

We are glad that Orhan Pamuk has won the literature Nobel. My name is red is among writings that we can never tire of. We’ll add Kiran Desai to our list of ‘to read’.

And we are very glad that Mohammed Yunus and his team at the Grameen Bank have won the peace Nobel. Peace is not possible in a world full of poverty. And making poverty history requires more than a crowd in a London park. Nor does it necessarily require grand plans by economists, small things are probably more useful to alleviate the worst poverty. This is the approach pioneered by Yunus.

Of course, we’ll be much gladder when poverty truly becomes history.