Industrial Policy in America
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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.
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Chapter 4: Industrial policy in America’s recent history

Breaking the Taboo

Marco R. Di Tommaso and Stuart O. Schweitzer


We turn now to the years of the five presidents immediately preceding President Obama: Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. Though it is commonplace for presidents (and especially presidential candidates) to claim that their current situation is “unprecedented” and “choices have never been more dramatic and critical,” this appears to be more political “spin” than reality. Of course no two time periods can ever be described as replicas of one another, but looking at the industrial policy actions of these five presidents, who have held office in relatively recent times, enables us to make comparisons that are perhaps more relevant to the current times because circumstances are less different than are the experiences of the presidential administrations we have heretofore discussed.

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