The New York Stock Exchange’s Nobel Peacemaker

How did Colombian President Andres Pastrana try to convince Congress that his country ideserves the U.S. aid package?

January 28, 2000

How did Colombian President Andres Pastrana try to convince Congress that his country ideserves the U.S. aid package?

Look over a list of past winners of the Nobel Peace Prize and you will see the names of diplomats, politicians, religious leaders, activists, and even journalists.

Our candidate for this year’s Peace Prize, however, fits into none of those categories. He is, dare we say, a businessman.

Like many past winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, our candidate’s work has great significance for the world beyond the region he worked to bring peace to.

While our candidate’s work has largely been limited to Colombia, a nation badly fragmented by rebel groups and illicit drugs, he has provided an example — if not the actual inspiration — for outcast nations to make peace and rejoin the world.

But what businessman has the clout and influence to accomplish such a lofty task? Clearly it would have to be someone who can make good on his promises — an area where politicians and diplomats frequently stumble.

But our candidate controls access to something that is increasingly considered to have a magical influence — that is, investment capital.

That is why we can confidently nominate Richard Grasso, the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, for the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize. Like the other Nobelists, he has sacrificed personal comfort and security for the cause of peace.

Rather than sitting in a plush Wall Street office, he ventured into Colombia’s rain forests last summer to meet with drug-trafficking rebels.

His promise? Make peace and the United States will open up its capital markets to Colombia. The country will be rewarded with billions of dollars of foreign investment — and the lives of most Colombians will improve rapidly.

In this era of globalization, Mr. Grasso’s blueprint for peace in Colombia — which is equally applicable to the Iraqs, Libyas and North Koreas of the world — is truly worthy of the Nobel committee’s recognition. We just wonder who he would thank in his acceptance speech in Oslo — Alan Greenspan?