How ‘National Developmentalism’ Built America
John F. Kennedy once stated: “The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest—but the myth—persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.” Nowhere is this perhaps truer than the myth that America’s laissez-faire tradition enabled America to lead the world economically.
But as Rob Atkinson writes in American Conservative, the reality is that from the founding of the American republic until the end of the Cold War, economic policy was guided by “national developmentalism,” where leaders used government to achieve economic independence from the British, then to become the leading industrial nation in the early 1900s, and later to crush the Soviet Union technologically. This tradition, not the embrace of laissez-faire, is why America became the richest nation on earth. Once again, embracing national developmentalism will be critical to enabling America to meet the existential challenge that is China.