Americans have great reverence for market forces. We proudly reject anything that smacks of industrial policy or the government picking winners in economic matters. Or do we? Are we kidding ourselves when we assume the government played no role in the creation or success of pursuits from steelmaking to the Internet. Will our stubborn aversion to government intervention come at a cost as major competitors around the world adopt national innovation policies and ramp up government research and development in emerging technologies? Or is it folly to think the government can actually be ahead of the market, given what has happened in recent years?
James Fallows moderated the debate with Rob Atkinson and Clyde Prestowitz arguing in support of the proposition and Robert Lawrence and Claude Barfield arguing against the proposition.