U.S. Industrial Policy Is Back

Robert D. Atkinson April 4, 2021
April 4, 2021

One reason for Korea’s phenomenal economic and technological rise over the last 60 years was that its industrial policies focused initially on spurring the growth of manufactured product exports and more recently on supporting advanced technology production.

The developmental states of other “Asian tigers” such as Taiwan and Singapore actively pursued industrial policies in similar ways, achieving similar levels of success. Yet as Rob Atkinson explains in a Korea Times column, during much of this period, the lack of an American industrial policy made it easier for Korea and other nations to close the gap with America, and to surpass the U.S. in certain areas.

But that may be finally beginning to change. After being a term of disparagement for at least four decades, the U.S. appears to be on the brink of adopting an industrial policy to boost U.S. leadership and export performance in a wide range of advanced technologies, including AI, robotics and clean energy. If the U.S. Congress can do this, it will change the global landscape of competition.