By: Robert Field
It would have seemed nutty to have argued some years ago that the world’s largest economy needs to pursue a protective policy for a number of industries, and yet to not do so seriously undermines our future not only economically but for national defense.
“Free Trade” has brought about cheap foreign consumer goods but also removed from our shores many of the very industries that are essential for the future, industries that China has aggressively pursues and seeks to monopolize. And this includes controlling ‘rare earths’ and cutting edge technology.
China does not rely upon the marketplace to determine what is in its best interest. It plans decades ahead and induces sectors of its economy accordingly.
We need a bi-partisan (or better yet non-partisan) commission to explore governmental programs to launch or cultivate a number of essential industries and then national policy to see that this is accomplished.
In 1953 as a senior in high school, I was asked to argue the side in favor of infant industries policies at a banquet hosted by the Worlds Affairs Committee of Philadelphia. I found it almost impossible to gather information supporting the affirmative for the USA. Almost seventy years later, making the argument would be easy.