Working papers // The Levy Economics Institute 561
To save Americaindeed, the global economy as a wholethe private/public sector balance has to shift, and the neoliberal economic model on which the country has been based for the past 25 years has to be modified. The role of the state needs to be reemphasized. The abandonment of a mixed economy and corresponding diminution of the role of government was hailed as the "rebirth of individualism," yet it caused rising inequality and the decline of median wages, and led to the widespread neglect of public goods vital to its citizens' welfare. Meanwhile, the country ran through the public investment it had made from the 1930s to the 1970s, with few serious challenges from policymakers or mainstream economists. The neoliberal model was also aggressively exported: the optimal growth strategy for all emerging economies was supposedly one that emphasized limited government, corporate governance, rule of law, and higher levels of state-owned and -influenced enterprisein spite of significant historical evidence to the contrary. Not even the economic wreckage in Mexico, Argentina, Thailand, Indonesia, and Russia seemed sufficient to challenge, let alone overturn, the prevailing paradigm. That is, until now: in reaction to the financial crisis, many governmentsled by the United Statesare enacting massive economic stimulus packages and taking a central role in promoting economic growth strategies. This reemergence of state-driven capitalism constitutes a back to the future investment paradigm, one that is consistent with a long and successful pattern of economic development. But once we get beyond the pothole patching and school repairing, what industries can be pushed forward using public seed capital or through Sematechlike consortiums? What must be brought to the fore is the need for a new growth path for the United States, one in which the state has a significant role. There are already indications that the private sector is beginning to adapt to this new, collaborative paradigm.
Comparative economic history deflation inflation growth public economics industrial policy