(p. B4) Government financing is not the best method to prod companies to be creative, said Edmund S. Phelps Jr., a professor of economics at Columbia University who won the Nobel Prize in 2006. But he said it could work.
He spoke at the forum about dwindling innovation in the United States economy. China, India and Brazil are catching up with innovative output, he said, but not Russia.
A high-technology start-up, he said, inherently runs more risk if it can present its product to only one potential buyer — the government — rather than to a range of customers, some of whom may want the product, he said.
“If Russian politicians see that their own prosperity, and that of their people, lies in a more arms-length relationship between the government and business, that would open a lot of possibilities,” he said.