Losing Time: The Industrial Policy Debate

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Losing Time: The Industrial Policy Debate

By Otis L. Graham, Jr.
Harvard University Press, 1992
370 pp. $29.95
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This is a clear, lively, critical and fairly comprehensive account of the American debate about industrial policy in the 1980s. Much space is given to the economic conditions of that decade, the literature of American decline and summaries of the views of those who were for or against one kind of industrial policy or another. There are gaps, some soft spots in the analysis and some weaknesses of exposition, but an author cannot be expected to have a deep knowledge of all the subjects that come into this complex field. As a historian Graham has a sharp eye (and tongue) for the misuses, distortion, superficiality and neglect of historical evidence in the debate, and he provides a good chapter on what can and cannot be learned from history. He ends this enlightening book with some sensible proposals on how to improve America's future handling of this inescapable policy necessity.