Prime News Ghana

Victory for Academics: a puzzle for a watching world

By Sam Edem
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Every year since 1895, when through Swedish inventor, Alfred Nobel, the Nobel Prize got established to celebrate outstanding achievements or strides in various spheres of society; leadership, economy, science, etc., we have continually witnessed growing credence to the works of this highly reputable foundation and to those who earn its converted awards.

But amidst the progress made in these areas, the problems of mankind remains increasingly perplexing. Just at the prime of the Second World War, Cordell Hull was bequeathed the Nobel Peace Prize; at the height of the Vietnam War, Martin Luther King, Jr. was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; and recently in 2009 at the heart of one of the worst global economic crisis that hit the world since the great depression of the 1920s Elinor Ostrom and Oliver William both received Nobel Prizes in Economics.

There are many who would argue that these prizes were actually in specific areas within the various fields for the academics or for works that in one way or the other create some social change. For instance Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr’s which was based on his use of non – violence in the American civil rights movement of the 1960s but we cannot shy away from the fact that the impact of these inputs from notable leaders of academics and society are not really impacting on the statistics, be it those of poverty, illiteracy, or the global economy: they have largely been merely conclusions to various study phases that gives way to the next.

Now in the midst of low production and lackluster prices of crude oil, a development that signals less revenue for major oil –dependent economies like Nigeria with its annual Real GDP rate plummeting from 7.8% in 2011 to 5.4% in 2015 and its impact on the African continent as a whole which now has an average annual GDP growth rate of 4.6% according to the world’s bank world economic index, a growing unemployment rate resulting from 10 -12 million youths pouring into the labour market annually across the continent, myriads of struggling businesses, not touching stats from the likes of US or other countries in the Americas and Europe respectively (more of focusing on the most vulnerable continent, Africa), etc., British-born Oliver Hart and Finland-born Bengt Holmstrom won the 2016 Nobel Economics Prize for their contributions to contract theory. The work which focuses on pay for top executives, taxation for small businesses, etc. does hold a flicker of hope but so has many others before it.

What then is the solution? Would the ever be a link between the progress made by our medical science, economic, or political giants and the realities we face in our societies or nations? I am no pessimist, but that is the greatest challenge for leaders in the academia, business and government everywhere on our planet: working to bridge the gap between such modest progress of mankind as this and the realities of our societies. Just a thought!