10 October 2009

Anything except outcomes

The Nobel Peace Prize committee has been awarded to US President Barack Obama "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." That is, for efforts, rather than achievements. Or perhaps it's for hope? Or for who the President is, rather than what he's done? This sort of nonsense is one reason why we are in such dire trouble. We reward anything - activity, image, inputs, outputs, victimhood - anything ... except outcomes.

All institutions have as their over-riding goal that of self-perpetuation. If the Nobel people were really concerned with peace, they'd reward one of the thousands of dedicated people working selflessly and successfully in dangerous areas trying to prevent or defuse conflict. But they are more concerned about raising the profile of their committee and their lucrative, ludicrous prizes. Is there any field of public life immune from celebrity worship?

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