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Making the Nobel Prize in Economics memorable

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Kai Ryssdal: How many of you woke up to your clock radios this morning, heard the word “Graphene” in the newscast someplace and went, “Wait, what?” Thanks to today’s announcement of the Nobel Prize in Physics, you are now a whole lot smarter about that new form of carbon. For those keeping score, there are still four Nobels to go. Chemistry tomorrow, then literature, the Peace Prize, and, on Monday, economics.

Commentator and comedian Andy Borowitz has some thoughts.

Andy Borowitz: Remember who won last year’s Noble Prize for Economics? Well, don’t beat yourself up — no one does. The top prize in its field, and a year later, the winner’s totally forgotten? That’s unheard of. Well, OK — “The Hurt Locker.”

Still, there’s no question that the Nobel for Economics has lost its juice. It’s not surprising. Winning the Nobel during the worst economic slump since the Great Depression — it’s like being named the Most Valuable Player by the Pittsburgh Pirates. If there’s really an economics genius out there, why are we all eating ramen noodles?

Even a recent winner whose name I can remember hasn’t generated a lot of heat for the Prize: Paul Krugman for the New York Times. Now, I dig the Krug. And when he won in 2008, I was like, the Nobel is back! Bad call. Krugman proceeded to write a series of interminable columns criticizing the size of President Obama’s stimulus package. Let’s just say they didn’t go viral.

So with the announcement of the Nobel coming up, the brain trust in Sweden needs to think about a serious reboot. It’s time to make the Nobel Prize for Economics sexy again. It should go to someone with star power who actually understands this rotten economy well enough to make money in it.

Number one on my short list: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. He has a hit movie out, and he’s said to be worth $6.9 billion. On the downside, if he wins the Nobel for his ideas, it might turn out later that they’re not his ideas.

Well, that leaves me with my second choice: Michael Sorrentino — better known to viewers of “Jersey Shore” as “The Situation.” Now, his economic credentials are impeccable. According to news sources, he is set to earn $5 million this year. That’s almost $1 million per ab. The Situation doesn’t just deserve the Nobel Prize for Economics, he should get a MacArthur Genius Grant. And one thing’s for sure, a year from now, we won’t have trouble remembering who won.

Ryssdal: Andy Borowitz is the creator of the Borowitz Report. Who’s on your short list for the economics Nobel? Drop us a line with your nominations.

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