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Noah Smith

How to Save the Troubled American Heartland

Some places can’t be rescued. Those that can need help from business, government and nonprofits.

Curbside appeal.

Curbside appeal.

Source: Education Images/Universal Images Group/Getty Iamges

Many books have been written about East Asian industrial policy — government efforts to pick winning industries and nurture economic development. There has been some attention to European initiatives as well.

In comparison, relatively little has been written about modern U.S. industrial policy. Advocates of a more purposeful government role in American economic development often hearken back to the age of Alexander Hamilton or Franklin Roosevelt, contrasting them with the modern era of laissez-faire policy and finance-driven capitalism.