Herbert A. Simon’s speech at the Nobel Banquet, December 10, 1978
Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Ladies and Gentlemen, May I express my deep gratitude for the honor bestowed on me, and through me, on the colleagues with whom I have collaborated in studying economic behavior and the human mind.
Ten years ago, economics was added to the list of disciplines recognized in these ceremonies. About ten years ago, also, in the United States, the social and behavioral sciences were given a full seat in our National Academy of Sciences. The decisions to take these steps were acknowledgements that all the great problems that face our world today have both technical and human content – the one intermingled inseparably with the other.
To deal with these problems – of world population and hunger, of peace, of energy and mineral resources, of environmental pollution, of poverty – we must broaden and deepen our knowledge of Nature’s laws, and we must broaden and deepen our understanding of the laws of human behavior. And we must do this in the spirit of deep concern for human values that is symbolized by the presence here also of the domain of literature.
The Nobel prizes memorialize Alfred Nobel’s faith in the contribution that human thought, directed to science and art, can make to human welfare. On this occasion we renew our resolution to use all the powers of the human mind, finite though they be, to search forward to a more humane world.