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Washington Outlook: Capital Wrapup


In their fondness for industrial policy, Clintonites often point to the chipmaking consortium Sematech as a model of government-private sector cooperation. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which funds Sematech, thinks that while the consortium may have helped the comeback of the U.S. semiconductor industry, it hasn't been very efficient. The problem: enormous capital investment in research labs and a pilot factory, which one Pentagon official describes as "a tremendous drain." DARPA officials believe that future consortiums, such as one now being set up to develop manufacturing of flat-panel computer displays, should focus on investing in existing facilities rather than building new ones.Edited by Stephen H. Wildstrom

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