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How Flawed Thinking Limits America’s National Industrial Strategy

The United States is one of the only developed nations without a national industry competitiveness strategy. Some of this failure stems from a hyper-partisan political environment; but the main culprit is groupthink. Few policymakers, pundits or economists understand U.S. competitiveness problems in ways that lead them to support such a strategy. Too many policymakers, pundits, and purported experts deny there is a problem. And most view the problem and solutions in a way that precludes needed action from being taken.

But as Rob Atkinson writes in The World Financial Review, this “deficit of the mind” has gotten decidedly better in the last few years as it has become clearer to many on both sides of the aisle that the federal government needs to act, if only to counter the technology challenge from of China. But altering U.S. economic policy is like turning an ocean tanker. In this case the first step reprogramming the intellectual logic chain that has held Washington on the same, faulty course for so long.

Before policymakers can act, there needs to be a consensus that there is a problem, and a role for policy in solving it. When it comes to competitiveness, too many in Washington don’t recognize this.

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