Monday, October 15, 2007

The Dario Fo of economics

By now you've probably heard that Leonid Hurwicz, Eric Maskin, and Roger Myerson won this year's Nobel economics prize. With all due respect to all concerned, they're to economics as Dario Fo, Elfriede Jelinek and Wislawa Szymborska are to literature.

If you even want to attempt to know why they got the prize, scoot over to Marginal Revolution.

Not that I'm complaining. Part of the charm of the Nobel prizes is that every two or three years the prize committees throw a wild curveball at us, coming up with the most unexpected winners. Of course, everyone is outraged that more deserving candidates were ignored, once again. Nonetheless, it keeps the world tuned in.

My favorite Nobel peeve is that those pesky Swedes evidently have a something against Spanish-language literature. Octavio Paz was the last winner, in 1990. Since then, there have been 8 English-language winners. Does anyone seriously believe that someone like Harld Pinter is more deserving than a Carlos Fuentes or Mario Vargas Llosa? Please. Not that this problem is recent. They let giants like Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar and Alejo Carpentier die without recognition.