U.S. Technological, Economic, and SocialDevelopment for the 21st Century
i n d u s t r y , f r o m b a l l b e a r i n g s t o i n d u s t r i a l d i a m o n d s . T h e t r a d e d e s k w o u l d a n a -
lyze the ner" or
industry assignedto it-say,
whether it has
shoes-and determine whether it is a "win- a promising future, in terms of productivity,
export-ability, things in life
labor intensiveness, and other good
be West Germany or Japan. 'We
go,' an advocate of industrial policy warns, 'the way of the British or the way of the Japanese.' " (Wolin, 1981, p. 23).
A Harvard sociologist topped it all when he declared Japanthe winner, num- ber one. Professor Ezra Vogel finds Japan first not only in economic achieve- ment, but also in education (Japanscores high on international math tests),crime control, equality of income distribution, environmental protection, and health (life expectancy in Japan is among the longest in the world). Above all, Japanis said to offer a model for the United Statesto emulate in dealing with industrial
problems. Specifically, Vogel would have the United Stateslearn from Japanby
forming a "comprehensive" center of top administrators
industrial and trade policy; to implement that national
by creating a national policy; by turning our
large corporations and other "large organizations" into "something people en-
the way the Japaneseloyally adhere to their corporations; and by increas-
ing cooperation between government and business (Vogel, 1979).
Similarly, Frank A. Weil, lawyer, investment banker, and Assistant Secretary of Commerce under Carter, called for a cabinet department for International Trade and Industry with "the responsibility for gathering and developing a relia- ble and specific information base about all industrial sectors"; the department would' 'shape trade policy, take the lead on tax policy as it relates to and affects
industry, direct import and export controls."
(Weil, 1980) (Other advocatesof
industrial policy include Gar Alperovitz, co-director of the National Center for Economic Alternatives, Ronald E. Miiller, the author of Revitalizing America, and Ira C. Magaziner and Robert B. Reich in their Minding America's Business.)
The designated' 'winners"
would be showered with government subsidies,
competition (as in trigger price or import
quotas), R&D writeoffs, and what not. government might provide the losers'
with' 'trade adjustment assistance" to where the losers congregate (Detroit,
help them move from parts of the Pittsburgh) to where the winners
roam (the Sunbelt, coal states), doomed, and government help is
but basically the to be withheld.
This policy might be called' 'national planning," but asthe term tends to raise fears of socialism, most of its advocates avoid the label. Instead, the term "in- dustrial policy" is in favor. It is quite appropriate, becausethe assumptionis that the unit at which the levers of policy are to take hold is not' 'the economy," or a major sector of it, but the specific industry. Also, "industrial policy" is the label used for suchdetailed government planning and direction of corporate efforts in other countries.