Economist Edmund Phelps

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The 2006 winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics, American Edmund Phelps, wasted no time in speaking his mind after the honors were announced in Stockholm last week.

The next day he was in print celebrating the dynamism and innovation of American capitalism. Not that it's perfect, he said, but it sure beats Europe's social market economy, class rigidity, and high unemployment.

So, hooray for the joy of capitalism. But don't self-congratulate too hard, warns Phelps. The wages of America's poor are too low, he says. So are its taxes and its savings.

Hear a conversation with Nobel prize-winner Edmund Phelps about American capitalism, as we live it.

Quotes from the Show:

"What the American [economic] system is good at is dynamism — coming up with innovative ideas that are economically feasible." Edmund S. Phelps

"In Europe, economies are dominated by big established companies." Edmund S. Phelps

"The US economy and Canada have higher productivity levels than Germany, France and Italy." Edmund S. Phelps

"Things should be done to make America more dynamic." Edmund S. Phelps

"In general, we [America] have been leaders in returing to private ownership and that seems to have worked out well." Edmund S. Phelps

"I'm not sure Europe is less satisfied with its life choices." Robert Reich

"We have a culture of impertinence in America. In Europe you don't do something first, then ask later." Robert Reich

"Unfortunately, most of the jobs created in America are not the dynamic sort but the drudge sort." Robert Reich


Edmund Phelps, winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Economics, and professor of economics at Columbia University.;
Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration from 1993 to 1997. He is currently Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley.

This program aired on October 17, 2006.


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