Industrial Policy American Style: From Hamilton to HDTV

Industrial Policy American Style: From Hamilton to HDTV

Industrial Policy American Style: From Hamilton to HDTV

Industrial Policy American Style: From Hamilton to HDTV


The proper role of government in the U.S. economy has been the subject of ideological dispute for generations. In some recent variations the debate has ranged from purist advocacy of government "hands-off" to calls for protectionist policies and aggressive support for American businesses struggling in a cut-throat world market.

What is the reality? This question animates Richard Bingham's provocative study of industrial policy American-style, as practiced (if not preached) by administration after administration. Readable and enlivened with case studies, this book is accessible and of interest to anyone who follows business-government relations in the United States and abroad.


Interest in industrial policy in the United States is always in a state of flux--its ebb and flow being related to the state of the economy. During good times the American people show little interest in it; during bad times it moves to the top of the political agenda. What may seem like an obscure concern today will not be so tomorrow.

While the topic of industrial policy may rise and fall in the marketplace of ideas, opinions about American industrial policy among economists, political scientists, academics in general, and journalists of most of the nation's influential media are pretty fixed. For all of them America's industrial policy is a disaster. Those on the right see almost any aid to American industries as an inefficient distortion of a pretty efficient market system. For those from the left, efficiency is also a concern. But they see American industrial policy as a bunch of inefficient, uncoordinated, sector-specific programs, often operating at odds with each other. For them, an industrial policy modeled after Japan's would be far more appealing.

Industrial policy is by its very nature political. And as with most things political, there is no one correct answer, but there are a lot of different perspectives. This is one of those perspectives, though I hope it is both a unique one and one that makes some sense.

Purpose of the Book

After studying and teaching about the American economy and industrial policy, and founding and editing the journal Economic Develop ment Quarterly . . .

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