Wealth - Don't Give it to Your Children
"I regard large inherited
wealth as a misfortune, which merely serves to dull men's faculties.
A man who possesses great wealth should, therefore, allow only
a small portion to descend to his relatives. Even if he has children,
I consider it a mistake to hand over to them considerable sums
of money beyond what is necessary for their education. To do
so merely encourages laziness and impedes the healthy development
of the individual's capacity to make an independent position
on his decision to leave his immense wealth for the establishment
of the Nobel Prizes rather than to his children. Only a small
portion of his wealth was left to relatives, the greatest amount
of his legacy valued at 31 million Swedish crowns (equivalent
of $220 million today) was designated for five Nobel Prizes.
To create the prizes, Alfred withdrew his investment from the
Nobel Brothers' Petroleum Company in Baku run by his brothers
Ludvig (1831-1888) and Robert (1829-1890) and combined it with
the funds made from his invention of dynamite. Swedish historian
E. Bargengren, who had access to the Nobel's family archives,
insists that it was the decision to allow withdrawal of Alfred's
money from Baku that was "the decisive factor that enabled
the Nobel Prizes to be established."
The Nobel prizes, awarded since 1901, are bestowed in six categories:
physics, physiology, chemistry, literature, economics and peace.
Quote from Ragnar Sohlman and Henrik Schuck, "Nobel: Dynamite
and Peace" (New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, 1929)
as described in J. Michael Bishop's book, "How to Win the
Nobel Prize" (Harvard University Press, 2003).
From Azerbaijan International (11.3) Autumn 2003.
© Azerbaijan International 2003.