How Should We Talk About Industrial And Manufacturing Policy?

Dave Johnson

The phrase “industrial policy” sounds so Walter Mondale, 1970s, smokestacks and brick factory old-fashioned. I suspect the subject turns people off, eyes glaze over, hands reach under the table for iPhones and Blackberries…

But this is SO important. China has an industrial policy and it is working for them. We do not, and it isn’t working for us. Having an industrial policy has turned China into an economic powerhouse and China now accounts for 83% of America’s goods trade deficit. That means we borrow more and more money from them to buy things made there from them. They get stronger, we get weaker. And, of course, our jobs continue to disappear.

After so many years laying dormant how can we revive the idea that America needs to develop an industrial policy? How do we get the idea out that the country should be developing a plan to restore our country’s manufacturing base?

We face a headwind of decades of corporate-purchased propaganda that the government should just stay out of it and let the corporations make the decisions. But the decisions they have been making during these decades may have been just great for a few people, they have been just terrible for our country and our workers. So now it is time for We, the People to start taking care of each other again

How can we talk about this in a way that gets people interested? What words should we use? What framing? Should we come up with a term other than “Industrial Policy?” What about “Economic Revival Strategy?”

This is an ongoing problem and we will be working on it. What are your thoughts?

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