A leading Washington think-tank has called for the US to dial back its long-standing fixation on free markets, and to emulate the national industrial strategies recently adopted by China to in order better compete against it in advanced technologies.
Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, believes that China has already surpassed the US in a number of advanced industries, and could soon achieve supremacy in technology via heavy investment.
“China is becoming more powerful technologically and can easily surpass the US if we do not act,” said Atkinson according to a report from Financial Times.
Atkinson said that the conviction that free markets, property rights and entrepreneurship are sufficient for success alone is “ahistorical and naive.”
He instead advocates the adoption of a national industrial strategy by the US.
Atkinson previously said to the Wall Street Journal in May that rising Sion-US tensions have “moved the dynamic toward accepting a national industrial strategy.”
“In the old days, it was about protecting steel. The consensus now is much more about helping sunrise industries,” with reference to those in the advanced tech sector especially.
Atkinson points out that the research and development outlays of the US federal government exceeded that of the rest of the world’s combined public and private sectors in 1963, at the height of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.
By contrast’s R&D investment today as a share of US GDP has fallen beneath levels in 1955.