Schumpeter Lecture with Joseph Stiglitz at the SME Assembly 2020

Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz says, “We need to transform our economic system from dependence on fossil fuels to renewables and to do that we need rapid innovation” and calls for a new partnership between the public and the private sector.

This year’s Schumpeter ‘Innovation in Enterprise’ Lecture was given by Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel Prize Winner and Professor at Columbia University.

Professor Stiglitz’s lecture covered topics such as the problems caused by the emphasis on markets without sufficient government regulation markets; the economic effects of the COVID pandemic and the effect of cutbacks in science budgets; the rise of the tech giants; the role of innovation in  transforming our economic system from dependence on fossil fuels to renewables; and his hopes for the new US administration.

Speaking on the balance of markets and government, Professor Stiglitz stated that “in recent decades we’ve lost that balance under neoliberalism under the ideas of Thatcher and Reagan, we put all the emphasis on markets but without government, without government investment, without government regulation, markets don’t work well. In fact, we saw in the 2008 crisis how poorly they worked. The financial sector even though it was absorbing 8% GDP up from 2.5% of GDP,  wasn’t allocating resources more efficiently, it wasn’t creating higher growth, it was creating more instability and so it was the absence of government regulating the market that led to the disastrous outcomes we saw.” 

Professor Stiglitz also addressed the COVID pandemic, describing it as a ‘natural experiment’ of ‘historical proportions’. Speaking about the pandemic he went on to say that “it’s becoming a field for social scientists, for economists, for epidemiologists, as they study what kinds of actions led to controlling the pandemic and controlling the economic aftermath of the pandemic.” 

He closed the lecture by speaking about Schumpeter and his vision of what a dynamic market economy was like.

“Thank you for inviting me to address you in this Schumpeter lecture, Schumpeter had a vision of what a dynamic market economy was like, it was a good vision, that dynamism leads to the flourishing of the human spirit.

That entrepreneurial spirit has the potential, as it has in the past raising standard standards of living for all, but we won’t live up to that potential unless we have the right balance between the government, market and civil society. A new social contract which embraces public investments, strong regulations, including on the environment, and the right rules. We are at a critical point in time, we are recovering hopefully from the pandemic or we will be in the not too distant future, we should have learned a lot of lessons and among the lessons are the importance of science, the importance of good institutions, the importance of global cooperation, the importance of innovation and as I emphasized those things which made for success in addressing the challenge of the pandemic I believe will also make for success in achieving long-term shared prosperity. 

Watch the Schumpeter Lecture in full:

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