No Policy is Good Policy: A Radical Proposal for U.S. Industrial Policy

There are three main paradigms that are the basis for the industrial policies throughout the world: institutionalism, Marxism, and free-enterprise. Of the three, two have been widely and intensively implemented and both of them have dismally failed. Institutionalism and Marxism either are, or have been, attempted to the fullest degree in the United States and abroad. Both have left nations struggling to find something better. The answer to this troublesome question is simple. No industrial policy is the best industrial policy. The classical liberals and libertarians have been arguing this since the days of Adam Smith, yet for the most part have been repeatedly dismissed. Critics have claimed their theories were unrealistic, and few nations have ever actually tried a policy close to laissez faire capitalism, at least in our century. If they had, there would not still be the quest for a better policy. This paper takes the position that it is time to learn from the previous mistakes and failures of government intervention. It is time to abolish industrial policy.

  • Authors: Walter Block, W. Robert McGee and Kristi Spissinger
  • Year: 1998
  • Organisation: University of Arkansas
  • Publisher: Walter Block
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