Edmund Phelps

A Nobel laureate whose most recent book is being lauded as the best business book of the year is giving a public lecture about grassroots innovation at the University of Waterloo.

Edmund S. Phelps, who was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2006, will speak on Thursday, March 5 at the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum Nano Centre.

Phelps, the McVickar professor at Columbia University, has had many publications in his career as an economist. His recent book, Mass Flourishing: How Grassroots Innovation Created Jobs, Challenge, and Change, has received wide-spread global recognition.

In his book, Phelps argues that the economic flourishing of the 1820s to the 1960s was a result of "modern values such as the desire to create, explore, and meet challenges. These values fuelled the grassroots dynamism that was necessary for widespread, indigenous innovation.

"Most innovation wasn't driven by a few isolated visionaries like Henry Ford and Steve Jobs; rather, it was driven by millions of people empowered to think of, develop, and market innumerable new products and processes, and improvements to existing ones."

He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Amherst College, Massachusetts in 1955 and went on to study at Yale University where he received his Ph.D. in 1959. Phelps won the Nobel, in part, for having deepened our understanding of the relation between short-run and long-run effects of economic policy.

Register for Phelps' lecture

The public is invited to attend Phelps lecture which begins at 2 pm and will take place in Room 0101 of Waterloo’s Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum Nano Centre. A book-signing will follow at 3 pm. Registration is required for this event.