The Sophie Prize 1999:
The Jury's Decision

The 1999 Sophie Prize
A Challenge to Globalisation

Herman Daly, USA, and Thomas Kocherry, India, are the winners of the 1999 Sophie Prize. The award, totalling USD 100 000, will be presented to the laureates by the Norwegian Minister of Environment, Guro Fjellanger, at an prize winning ceremony in Oslo on June 15. 

This year, the award sets focus on alternatives to the adverse effects of economic globalisation and its consequences for resource management.

The winners of the 1999 Sophie Prize have shown that present economic policies impoverish peoples and environments. Both winners have given substantial contributions towards a sustainable development by pointing to viable alternatives to present practices. Herman Daly through the introduction of an economic theory that respects the limited carrying capacity of nature. Thomas Kocherry through the empowerment and mobilisation of national and international fishermen, fighting practically for their rights and the protection of marine resources. 

Herman Day stresses that " Sustainable development is development without growth" and thus radically challenges present economic policies. Thomas Kocherry challenges the unsustainable harvesting of marine biological resources and the destruction of local fishing communities world-wide. Both strive for a fair distribution of economic and natural resources. 

The Jury of the Sophie Prize for 1999 emphasize that a number of pressing socio-economic issues have framed the selection of this year's winners: 

  • The negative consequences of economic globalisation and its destructive effects on nature and society, illustrated by the ongoing negotiations in the World Trade Organisation.
  • Industrial fisheries show evidence of how free trade markets drain natural resources and destroy local environments and societies.
  • Sustainable development requires alternative models and theories as well as practical change at local level. 

Background Data:

Herman Daly is Professor of Economics at the School of Public Affairs, at the University of Maryland. He worked as senior economic advisor at the World Bank for several years, but left after a conflict on the bank’s involvement in the UN conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro 1992. He has written several books on alternative economics, amongst others, “Economics, Ecology, Ethics” (1980), “For Our Common Good (1989)” and “Beyond Growth" (1996). 

Thomas Kocherry is a priest, lawyer and trade union leader. He holds university degrees in chemistry, zoology and botany. He lives in Kerala, India and has struggled for 25 years to secure the rights and livelihood for local fishermen and –women. He has built the national coastal fishermen’s organisation in India and is presently the General Co-ordinator of the “World Forum of fish-harvesters and fish-workers”. This is the world’s first international organisation for coastal fishermen, involving over 30 countries. He has lead several peaceful demonstrations, amongst others, against the sales of quotas to foreign trawlers, against the GATT agreement and against industrial shrimp farming.