December 10th is the day assigned for the Nobel Awards ceremonies. In compliance with Alfred Nobel’s will, the Peace Award is handed over in Norway at Oslo’s Storting Hall whilst the other Nobel Awards including the Riksbanken Economic laureates, an award added in 1968, participate in a later ceremony the same day at Stockholm’s Concert Hall.
This year’s ceremony has followed the usual protocol where it not for the fact that the awards were for a majority of American citizens headed by no less than U.S. President Barack Obama. Without any intent of demerit for the other Nobel laureates, I must call the attention to this year’s Economic awardees, Olstrom & Williamson, who together with Obama form a solid indication of the Nobel Committee’s intention in the awards for 2009.
Much has been said after the surprise announcement of Obama’s Nobel Peace designation, to the point it belittled the announcement a few days earlier of the Riksbanken Economic Awards to Elinor Olstrom and Oliver E. Williamson. To the very moment the awards were delivered yesterday, a sector has remained adamant to accepting Obama’s merits and debate over said issue has missed entirely the relevance of the overwhelming American presence in the Nobel Committee’s decision for 2009. Moreover, it is the first time that women occupied the awards’ major limelight, with Elinor Olstrom being the first woman to become an economic laureate.
While Obama was handed his diploma in Oslo according to Nobel’s dictates, Olstrom & Williamson, as well as the other laureates, received theirs from the hands of Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf at Stockholm’s Concert Hall. The strict protocol that these ceremonies have followed over the years may have been broken in few occasions, such as Mother Teresa’s request to cancel the banquet in lieu of donating the funds to charity. Obama has perhaps also done a similar act which few seem to have given due importance. The U. S. President has shortened his Oslo visit to less than 24 hours, just enough not to accept the regal protocol dinner offered in his honour. He has a lot of work back home. I make mention of this situation to back up my argument as to the reasons that may have warranted these outstandingly American Nobel Awards in 2009 with Obama in the key role.
In the aftermath of an unexpected financial crisis in the U.S.A. that has dragged global markets into the mire of a rather complicated economic international scenario, one must analyse Obama’s peace diploma in unison with the other awards, especially those in Economics to Elinor Olstrom & Oliver E. Williamson. It is well known that the crisis broke out at the closing of the previous U.S. Administration with President Bush at the helm. Never before had Washington been so neglectful of international trade & commerce and so bent on using its military force to maintain its world supremacy. The results of such international socio-economic policy have been the sad inheritance George W. Bush handed over to America´s first Afro-American President. Both Olstrom & Williamson have worked for decades in Social Economics whereby enterprise was given its just place and consumers justly valued in the development of international trade. Their theories were never in the mind of Republican U.S. Administrations and proof stands that today Obama has to fight it out to get a historic health bill approved.
Due to U.S. supremacy not only in military issues but likewise in worldwide Economics, this year’s Nobel Awards to Obama, Olstrom & Williamson pretend to call international attention to the need for “social peace in the United States of America” if the international community of democratic states is to resolve the socio-economic needs of the entire world.
Obama’s speech, in a humble tone for his still undeserved international merits, spoke of his role as U.S. Commander-in-Chief. It is fair to grant him a justification for his pseudo-military role as the world’s most powerful man in command of the best armed nation in current wars and skirmishes in different conflict zones. His decisions affect not only Americans but citizens of independent states with regimes of different nature. Whereas his predecessor justified all types of invasion as a defence action against terrorism, Obama has assumed a realistic stance to differentiate the causes of the various live warfronts today. This change of posture alone is worth taking into account as a merit for consideration in a peace award. Obama not only uses oratory to convince. He first is convinced himself of what he puts into words. He did not seek to justify any war nor wished to argue on theory of “just war”, for which reason I will not argue on his statement that some conflicts are necessary. Nevertheless, it is not Obama who is in doubt as a “man of peace”. It is The Establishment in America, with its vested interests and powerful lobbies that must be under surveillance.
Does America want to be known as a democracy for peace or of war? This is the question.
Obama, Olstrom & Williamson have acquired a commitment. With them, all other American citizens awarded Nobel prizes in their respective field of science. Not one of them can be considered in favour of anti-social actions defended by the most reactionary segments of American society. Without a support to these Nobel laureates, the world is in fact leaning towards conservative ways of managing world economics without any consideration for the poor of the world or environmental concern for future generations.
This is the essence of Obama’s peace award, in company of the recognition for Elinor Olstrom as a woman in the world of Economics and Williamson’s contributions towards better controls on enterprises’ model of acquiring benefits. The challenge of these awards now put America in the limelight. Will the United States of America live up to its mission of democracy, peace, climate & social changes in the forthcoming decade of this New Millennium?
Only time will tell.
Fernando Fuster-Fabra, Madrid