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Industrial Policy – Not

On the final day of The Economist‘s published debate on industrial policy, moderator Tamzin Booth summarized industrial-policy enthusiast Dani Rodrick’s case for such state direction of the economy: “for Mr Rodrick, the fact that every single prosperous country in history has used industrial-policy tools at some point proves that they must work.”

How ironic that the same e-mail from The Economist that brought me the final words on this debate also featured this report on what The Economist describe as Hong Kong’s “staggering” economic success – a report that notes that Hong Kong’s government explicitly “rejected subsidies for start-ups… cheap land for strategic businesses… and most of all, industrial policy.”

Dani Rodrick plays far too fast and loose with alleged “facts.”