In this next part of our exclusive special series with Michael Sekora, founder and director of the Socrates Project within the Reagan White House, we delve into the debate around industrial policy. Does the United States need one or does it violate our founding democratic principles? Or does it come down to how we define an industrial policy?
Sekora notes when it comes to the argument of industrial policy, there are two factors: How we define industrial policy and defining it based on a finance-based perspective.
“Always, the debate goes like this: we need industrial policy because people like China operate as a holistic entity and we’re just a bunch of people operating independently, and there’s no way China—with the size they are, working as a coherent team—is able to—well, there’s no way we can compete against it,” he said.
He added: “In China’s case, it’s a national technology strategy. That is their industrial policy. Now the stuff that’s around it—the economics, the manpower, everything else, which is all the Americans see—is the peripheral parts, which we’ve talked about before. But the core, which makes the decision, is a national technology strategy. That dictates what technologies they acquire worldwide, how they utilize them.”
As for how to address it, Sekora notes: “First of all, we have to correctly define, as a full range of ways that you can come up with a mesh of, you can get the nation to work in a coherent fashion. And number two, that plan has to be from a technology perspective, not a finance perspective because finance does not generate a competitive edge. The technology generates the competitive edge and then dictates the finance.”
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