Barry, My Liege :
An economic policy is any law, regulation or practice through which citizens and companies can find profit opportunities or can be taxed or harmed. Considered as such, policies can be national, state or local, but usually attention is paid to policies at the national level because they have the greatest impact.
When considered in this fashion, it is clear that we already have a national industrial policy.
But, our existing national policy has been developed in a haphazard manner and does not protect our Economic National Security adequately.
For example, it can be argued that our existing industrial policy calls for exporting manufacturing jobs, sustaining a large trade deficit, transferring technology to foreign companies regardless of the effect on our domestic economy and allowing a privileged class of bankers to speculate in a variety of markets while under the protection of government sponsored insurance against failure.
My Liege, that does not make sense.
Other countries like Japan, China, Korea and Germany have created a conscious industrial policy with some effect in creating a better economy for their citizens.
It is time that we emulated those successful countries. Our future Economic National Security requires it.
It will be a serious undertaking, however, since it will involve changing some powerful economic sectors. We can predict that any industry or influence which seems threatened by economic change will mount a strong campaign against change.
And yet, our future depends on it.
As an example of how such a policy might appear, here is a description of the Japanese policy from POLITICS AND PRODUCTIVITY : HOW JAPAN'S DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY WORKS, Chalmers Johnson, Laura D'Andrea Tyson, and John Zysman, Harpercollins (January 1991) :
'The allocation of resources among industries and activities can be evaluated not only according to its Ricardian efficiency but also according to two other performance criteria:
1. Its growth efficiency or its effects on long-term rates of growth of economic activity
2. Its Schumpeterian efficiency or its effects on the pace and direction of technological change.
These two criteria clearly dominated Japanese economic policymaking in a self-conscious way. Japanese industrial policy targeted industries and activities that appeared to the Japanese planners to have the greatest future growth potential and the greatest technological potential over the long run.
As Freeman argues in his insightful book on Japanese technology policy, "MITI saw as one of its key functions the promotion of the most advanced technologies with the widest world market potential in the long run ."
Under conditions of imperfect competition and technological change, an allocation of resources that is Ricardian efficient-in other words, efficient by current market indicators-may not be efficient in the growth or Schumpeterian sense.'
When we think about an Industrial policy for the United States, we recognize that it will be a huge undertaking because we have such a large and diversified economy.
Here are some things to consider:
** Encouraging oil replacement technologies to reduce dependence on foreign oil supplies is a natural
** Auto manufacturing industry is a great job creator and a success for Federal intervention
** Reducing or eliminating our BOP deficit will save many jobs in the USA
** We should not do obvious acts which can harm our military strength or increase the military strength of our potential adversaries - we should not sell missiles to Iran, for example
Mostly, let us recognize that mistakes will be made as we move forward, but the biggest mistake is to do nothing.
As the sage Yogi Berra said : 'You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going because you might not get there.'
Your faithful servant,