Creativity vital to Irish recovery, says economist

Ireland’s path out of economic turmoil will be reliant on the harnessing of entrepreneurship and innovative ideas, according to one of the world’s leading economists.

Imagination is one of the key values to a good economy, while the recognition of human creativity, the rise of vitalism, and the recognition that “an upstart theory should be allowed to compete with any established theory” are key ingredients to growth, according to Nobel prize-winning economist Edmund Phelps.

“The future is open for us to act on it, not for us to control,” said Prof Phelps during an address entitled Values, Innovation and the Good Economy at NUI Galway, yesterday.

Highlighting creativity’s role, he noted the success of “the modern creator”, from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

“Steve Jobs owed his success to a lot of creativity and a lot of insight,” he said.

“Moral values, while hard to define, have shaped and built traditional economic powers such as the US, England, France and Germany,” said Prof Phelps.

At the end of the event, Maria Keenan presented the Literary and Debating Society’s highest accolade, the President’s Medal, to Prof Phelps. The medal has previously been awarded to such notable figures as philosopher and linguist Noam Chomsky, US Senator Mike Gravel, US Congressman Bruce Morrison, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.


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