Mike Lazaridis vs. Robert Mundell

Lazaridis's invention made him famous, but it was Mundell's economic theories that arguably made him rich

Mike Lazaridis

Why he’s famous: Putting e-mail on people’s cell phones via the BlackBerry.

Why he deserves to win: Along with co-CEO Jim Balsillie, Lazaridis has built Research in Motion into a tech powerhouse, putting Canada on the map in the wireless device business. Lazaridis has registered more than 30 patents and won dozens of awards for his innovations in software and wireless communications technology, including a 1999 Academy Award for RIM’s role in inventing a digital-barcode reader for film editing.

Robert Mundell

Why he’s famous: The Nobel Prize-winning economist helped found the school of thought known as supply-side economics.

Why he deserves to win: Mundell’s most tangible accomplishment was in laying the groundwork for the Euro zone with his work on currency areas. But Mundell’s theories—specifically his advocacy of tax cuts and other measures aimed at lowering the barriers to the supply of goods and services—had a profound effect on the political and economic discourse that’s still in place today. Ronald Reagan would totally vote for Mundell.

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Next: Marshall McLuhan vs. Jane Jacobs

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