Here's an excerpt from my latest column in TIME Magazine:
In theory, I am deeply skeptical of government industrial policy. Government doesn’t know how to pick winners and losers, it will make mistakes, and the process will get politicized. All this is true. And yet when I look at China and South Korea and also Germany and Japan, I see governments playing a crucial role. They do make mistakes - their versions of Solyndra - but they seem to view them the way venture capitalists would. Their role is to seed many companies, only a few of which will succeed. Once these companies are identified, government helps them compete against big U.S. multi nationals.
There used to be a joke about Marxist economists who would say of a deviation from pure communist economics: “It might work in practice, comrade, but it doesn’t work in theory.” That’s what industrial policy looks like these days. The theory doesn’t make sense, but it’s hard to argue with the result.