(THIS ARTICLE IS MACHINE TRANSLATED by Google from Norwegian)
Norwatch has this week put the spotlight on yet another important dark spot in the Norwegian public. The independent and source-critical website, which the Future holds in our hands, announced that the Nobel Foundation may be behind very problematic investments in the international stock market.
In the worst consequence, the Peace Prize can thus be financed by cluster bombs. And it would be an irony of fate, perhaps especially this year, when Mohamed ElBaradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) come to Oslo next weekend to receive this year's Peace Prize. In that case, the Nobel Committee would give one hand and bring the other.
It should be said that it is not possible to determine with certainty what the Nobel Foundation has invested its three billion Swedish kroner in. And that is precisely the core of the problem. The foundation refused to disclose to Norwatch which companies the money managers invest.
The problem lies in both the secrecy and the consequences of the secrecy – by creating doubts about the legitimacy of the Peace Prize.
Admittedly, the director of the Nobel Foundation, Michael Sohlman, went to Dagsavisen on Monday and denied weapons investments:
"We have not invested in the companies related to the production of nuclear weapons and cluster munitions. We do not invest in companies that primarily operate in the weapons industry," said Sohlman.
But at the same time, the leader of the Nobel Committee, Ole Danbolt Mjøs, found it necessary to "ask the board to form a written set of ethical guidelines for investments in various funds". This new requirement also indicates that today's Nobel wealth can be acquired through values we do not associate with an impartial peace prize.
Norwatch was also able to show that one of the Nobel Foundation's fund managers, the American T Rowe Price, has a long list of controversial and not very peace-oriented investments. Among them is Alliant Techsystems, an American manufacturer of sub-components for air-delivered cluster bombs. This company has now been banned from, among others, the Petroleum Fund, after a long period of pressure, since according to the Ministry of Finance it "violates basic humanitarian principles". But it is more unclear to what extent the Nobel Foundation can avoid being linked to this company directly or indirectly through its fund manager T Rowe Price.
Another controversial company under this US company is Specialty Defense Systems (SDS), which makes defense equipment for belligerent soldiers.
And so we could still. The revelations of the Nobel Foundation's investment basis also say something fundamental about us and our time. Alfred Nobel himself thought equity investments were an outing – the will says that he preferred that the money be invested in real estate and interest-bearing securities. Nevertheless, private fund managers over the past decade have been allowed to invest more than half of Nobel's wealth in equities, mainly in the United States.
The problem is not the shares as such, but how they are used. There are more than the Nobel Committee and the Petroleum Fund that should now catch their eye on how the wealthy wealth is built up. This should just be the start.