When we started to think about this book we were inspired by the debate concerning the ideas and actions of the (then) newly elected President Obama at the very beginning of the on-going international economic crisis. We thought it would be useful to see whether or not industrial policy (IP) had finally come to America. What was clear from the very beginning of our work was that we were approaching a sort of “third rail” of economic policy – a policy so controversial that merely coming into contact with it was dangerous! As it was during the presidencies of Carter and Reagan, IP in America is such a powerful concept that the words polarize public opinion. Even a quick look at how contemporary media love to present the issue, supports the hypothesis that we are confronting a taboo that American politicians are still respecting. Those who might be in favor of IP interventions feel obligated to avoid the use of the term. Opponents are ready to use these words because they know how rapidly ghosts and fears might be raised.
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