With ‘Nobel’ Hindsight in 2020

Pandemic sets the stage to free the Nobel Prize of an economic ruse.

Vinny Tafuro
Dialogue & Discourse
2 min readOct 6, 2020


“There is nothing to indicate that he would have wanted such a prize.”

This week the Nobel prize will be awarded in five categories established by Alfred Nobel. Prizes for Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Medicine, and Peace were first awarded in 1901. On the Monday following those five awards, a purposely deceptive award in economics will also be awarded. The award itself, or at least the journalistic practice of incorrectly naming the award, should end this year.

This year, like none other in recent American memory has oft been compared to 1968 for its political and civil unrest. Unrest rooted in economic inequality inflicted by racism, sexism, and disregard for the environment and human welfare. Challenges now compounded over 50 years that are being illuminated globally by a microscopic virus.

Ironically enough it was 1968 when professional economists, in collusion with the Swedish National Bank, appropriated the Nobel name and prize to elevate the public’s faith in their economic models.

There is not and has never been a Nobel Prize for economics.

The award’s official name is The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel and gained Nobel-like prestige only through the strategic appropriation of Alfred Nobel’s name and the complicity of the Nobel Foundation. The award was created to help legitimize economic doctrine that incentivizes the accumulation of capital over circulation, and favors exponential growth regardless of negative impacts on the environment and people.

“The Economics Prize has nestled itself in and is awarded as if it were a Nobel Prize. But it’s a PR coup by economists to improve their reputation,” bristles Peter Nobel, great great nephew of Alfred Nobel. “There is nothing to indicate that he would have wanted such a prize.” Alfred Nobel’s attempt to recognize positive human achievement has been hijacked for half a century. The two Swedish born awards are in direct philosophical conflict and work to confer “an individual an authority which in economics no man ought to possess,” as economist Friedrich Hayek exclaimed upon receiving the award himself.

Each year that the five official Nobel Prizes are awarded and the Sveriges Riksbank Prize follows without some form of historical clarification is another year that the ruse is allowed to continue. With the hindsight offered by 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic, the Nobel Foundation should divorce itself from its irreverent union with professional economists. And if the Nobel Foundation will not do so, it is the job of every journalist and media professional to ensure that clarification is made for the public to ensure journalistic integrity.