Friday, June 15, 2012

Less Prize - More Peace?

The prize money for Nobel laureates is being pruned.
The Nobel Foundation blames a decade of overspending that's stretched its finances, and forced a reduction in prize value for the first time in 63 years.
Martin Luther King, Peace Prize 1964
The Foundation gives prizes each year in six categories spanning medicine to literature to chemistry. The Nobel Peace Prize, the most popular, has become one of the world's most coveted awards. Winners of the 2012 Nobel Prizes will be paid about $1.1million, a 20% decline from the $1.4m last year.
In recent years, overhead expenses and prize money have outrun investment returns. The last time the payout was lowered was in 1949, and the value of the awards has gradually increased since. Many Nobel laureates, including big-name winners like Barak Obama, have given at least a portion of the prize money to charity.
Aung San Suu Kyi: a long wait...
The move comes as Aung San Suu Kyi prepares to finally receive her Nobel Peace Prize in person this week. The Myanmar opposition leader was awarded the prize in her absence in 1991, but was held under house arrest for most of the past two decades.
The prize-money adjustment may draw some attention in the short term, but it'll take more than cost cuts to dent a Nobel brand that's been well-regarded for over a century.
Alfred Nobel, the Swedish chemist/engineer who invented dynamite, established the prize in 1895 by setting a large portion of his estate aside, to be distributed as prizes to those making contributions for the benefit of mankind.
Ah well, I guess I can tolerate receiving only a million for my "services to literature"...or, as Denis Leary once quipped: "I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!"

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