Industrial Policy in America

Industrial Policy in America

Breaking the Taboo

Marco R. Di Tommaso and Stuart O. Schweitzer

In contrast to what observers have frequently argued, this timely and thought provoking book suggests that the concept of industrial policy is not alien to the American past and present. The debate on this topic in the US has always been full of contradictory rhetoric and policy practices, and the expert authors therefore acknowledge a need to rethink the traditional antagonist positions. They illustrate that contemporary markets continue to demand to be fixed by government policies, and governments continue to show how fixing-the-market policies might fail. The conclusion is that the future of industrial policy is about how to make both markets and governments better in their functioning, but that the real goal for industrial policy is to make better-market and better-government policies consistent with the goal of building a better society.

Chapter 6: Vertical policy initiatives of President Obama

Marco R. Di Tommaso and Stuart O. Schweitzer

Subjects: economics and finance, industrial economics

Extract

The Obama administration has implemented policies in four industries within the services sector: financial services, health care, culture, and education. In this section we will concentrate primarily on the financial services industry. A broader discussion of the health, culture, and education sectors is found later, under the heading “Policies for Groups of Industries”. Action toward financial services received priority because the financial services industry has been the epicenter of the recession. A reformed and revitalized financial services industry was viewed as indispensible for economic recovery. This special attention was probably not in the initial intention of the candidate Obama but the strength and the severity of the incoming crisis rapidly drove government intervention in this sector. The need for a government able to manage the dramatic events and capable of mediating the growing conflicts between different category of citizens and actors, soon became evident to everybody.

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