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Myth-Busting Silicon Valley

American Compass’s Wells King argues that Silicon Valley’s founder myth has things backward, misunderstanding the source of the regime’s power and flattering its worst instincts.

Silicon Valley’s Public Garages

The indispensable and effective role of public policy in building the digital age

American Compass Releases Conservative Economic Agenda for 118th Congress

Today, American Compass is releasing New Direction: Conservative Principles & Policies for the 118th Congress, an agenda for economic renewal, focused on the interests of worker, their families and communities, and the nation.

Uncle Sam’s Top-Performing Venture Fund

With the Small Business Innovation & Research program, Congress helped build many of the nation’s most innovative firms.

The American Camry

Wells King and Dan Vaughn, Jr. on how Reagan showed it was possible to wrangle foreign manufacturers to the U.S.

The Import Quota that Remade the Auto Industry

President Reagan negotiated a quota on Japanese imports that bought Detroit time to retool and spurred massive foreign investment in a new manufacturing base in the South.

State Capacity in Short Supply: Assessing the Biden Administration’s Industrial Strategy

American Compass’s Wells King and Chris Griswold evaluate the Biden administration’s approach to industrial strategy and what it shows about the policy failures of the established ruling class.

The Chips Act Debate Shows How Far the Republicans Have Moved

FINANCIAL TIMES—Oren Cass argues that conservative interest in rebuilding America’s industrial base may finally be overtaking free-market fundamentalism on the right.

The Problem Joe Manchin Highlighted Is Crucial for America’s Future

Oren Cass makes the case for serious permitting reform, without which it will take years to spend any money building climate-related projects, costing us money and harming the environment.

American Compass on CHIPS Act Passage: An Inflection Point in U.S. Policy

PRESS RELEASE—America is finally getting serious about returning critical industries to our shores.

Republicans Split on Major China Bill, as Legislation Barrels Toward Passage

As the Senate takes up consideration of the CHIPS Act, American Compass’s work is leading the industrial policy debate.

Pass the CHIPS, Please

Restrictions on investment in China are a good idea, to be sure. The taller and stronger the guardrails, the better. But holding incentives for domestic investment hostage to tougher restrictions on foreign investment may not be wise or necessary, for two reasons.

The New Age of Interventionism—the Big State Is Back in Business

American Compass executive director Oren Cass joins the Money Talks podcast to discuss the growing embrace of industrial policy.

Many Countries Are Seeing a Revival of Industrial Policy

A special report on industrial policy and the relationship between business and the state cites American Compass executive director Oren Cass as one of the leading voices calling for a rethinking of industrial policy’s potential in the modern market.

Woke Capitalism Is a Smokescreen

American Compass research director Wells King argues that woke corporate activism attempts to launder self-interest through liberal ideology and to renege on actual obligations.

Trading It All Away

Adapted from remarks delivered by Senator Marco Rubio on the 20th anniversary of China’s ascension to the WTO.

Marco Rubio Gets It. Our Economic Addiction to China Is a National Security Threat.

Henry Olsen discusses Sen. Rubio’s remarks at American Compass’s inaugural Henry Clay Lecture in Political Economy.

Washington Is Showing How Much It Really Cares About Blue Collar Families (Not Much)

American Compass policy director Chris Griswold discusses the “blue-collar blueprint” for infrastructure and how DC politicos fail to listen to their actual blue-collar voters.

Gimme Shelter

Only the Rich Can Play is an uncomfortable reminder that no matter how much you may appreciate an idea’s intellectual lineage or conceptual clarity, no plan survives first contact with the enemy. It deserves inclusion on political science syllabi as a case study in how a billionaire’s idea can flow from a Davos brainstorming session to Washington’s halls of power and become the law of the land.

Future of Work: Futureproof

American Compass’s Oren Cass is featured in a PBS documentary on the future of work and how “future-proof” jobs against robots, AI, racial and economic disparities, and pandemics.

A Template for Harnessing the Private Sector for the Public Good

Relying on “the market” or championing outsourcing in rising domestic costs might provide short term benefits. But ultimately, it undermines national prosperity by degrading valuable domestic social capital and skills.

mRNA vaccine vial
Operation Warp Speed Accelerated Biotech Innovation, Now What?

Warp Speed was a triumph of industrial policy, and its details offer a path to rebuilding American production of key medical products and industrial capabilities more generally.

Critics Corner with Prof. Donald Boudreaux

On this episode of Critics Corner, Oren is joined by one of our most active critics and open-letter writers, Donald Boudreaux of George Mason University.

A Guide to the Semiconductor Industry

A guide to what is happening in the semiconductor industry and how the U.S. fell behind its competitors in the global race for leadership.

America’s Microchip Slip

American Compass’s Oren Cass and Richard Oyeniran explore the decline of America’s semiconductor industry and how the U.S. can retake the lead in the great semiconductor race.

No, Adopting an Industrial Policy Doesn’t Mean We’re Emulating China

There is a continuum of state involvement in industry and technology policy that spans from doing nothing to picking particular firms and technologies.

Fulfillment: A Conversation on Amazon and Regional Inequality with Alec MacGillis

Fulfillment author Alec MacGillis joins American Compass research director Wells King for a conversation exploring what the growth of Amazon means for the future of inequality in the U.S., the pros and cons of “one-click America,” and how policymakers and consumers should respond.

The Fed’s Most Harmful Statistics Error

The United States is not producing 24,881% more computers than it was in 1980, and is likely producing significantly fewer because of offshoring.

Small Business Boards: How to Help Small And Medium Businesses Compete

Large numbers of American workers are trapped in low-wage jobs in low-tech, low-profit industries in the nontraded domestic service sector, including leisure and hospitality, retail and child and elder care.

When Farmers Are Not Farmers and Shepherds Are Not Shepherds

For too long we have let memories we cherish—of farms and farmers, of homesteads and pioneers, of cowboys on the range and Native Americans hunting the great herds—disguise how much we have lost and abandoned.

Buy American: The Key to Reshoring and Restoring American Prosperity

Americans have seen their wages shrivel as manufacturing has been repeatedly outsourced to low-cost jurisdictions such as China, Bangladesh and Vietnam.  Much of the prevailing conventional wisdom over the past few decades has been that manufacturing is not a necessary part of a wealthy nation, that we live in a “post-industrial” world, that is, one in which we don’t have to do much, if any, manufacturing in the United States.

The Biden Team Wants To Transform the Economy. Really.

Noam Scheiber cites American Compass’s Oren Cass in a feature on industrial policy and the Biden administration’s attempts to revive U.S. manufacturing.

It’s neither the Investor Class nor the Middle Class: It’s the Producer Class, Stupid!

If one believes that ideas matter, then the person who has surely done the most harm to humanity is Karl Marx, as his writings led to Communism, with its repression and tens of millions of deaths (as well the rise of Nazi Germany).

Before COVID, the Economy Was Already Sick from Washington Groupthink

When it comes to the economy, the Biden administration will have to focus on three things: COVID, a recovery package, and China. Everyone understands we have to get vaccines in the arms of as many Americans as possible as soon as possible. And hopefully the Senate can agree on an economic recovery package.

Why It Will Be So Hard to Roll Back Trump’s Trade Agenda

Henry Olsen highlights American Compass’s conversation with former U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer in a discussion of the future of American trade policy.

Should the U.S. Adopt an Industrial Policy?

At the Soho Forum, American Compass’s Oren Cass and Cato Institute’s Scott Lincicome debate whether the U.S. should adopt an industrial policy.

National Developmentalism ≠ Critical Theory Radicalism

After years of dismissing the rise of critical theory-inspired identity politics, many conservatives have become “woke” to just how divisive this movement is. The problem, however, is that some free market fundamentalists see both radical intersectionalists and Hamiltonian supporters of national developmentalism as desecrators of the Founding Father’s principles.

Industrial Policy Must Account for Worker Attitudes

n a recent post about the relationship between family trends and the skills gap I noted that for some of the young adults my husband David and I interviewed in southwestern Ohio, trauma and addiction make it difficult to take advantage of the employment opportunities that do exist.

Potato Chips, Computer Chips: Yes, There Is a Difference

After a half century of neoclassical economics dominance, it has become a truism among most economists and policy makers that a nation’s sectoral composition doesn’t matter.

Is There a Way of Doing Bipartisan National Industrial Policy?

The likely configuration of the new Senate represents a potential obstacle toward some of the grander Democratic Party policy visions outlined in President-elect Biden’s program. 

America May Be Back, but Let’s Not Bring Back the Old Normal

As President-elect Joe Biden has been announcing members of his new team, he has been equally prone to pass on the message to the rest of the world that “America is back”. 

Industrial Policy May Have Finally Arrived: But For What?

Ever since the concept of a national industrial policy was proposed in the 1970s, it has received scorn from most neo-classical economists, with those advocating it treated as the economic equivalent of chiropractors.

Industrial Policy, the U.S. Constitution and the Supreme Court

Now that the Supreme Court is in the news, with President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to succeed the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, it is worth reflecting on what kind of constitutional system is best for a national industrial strategy of the kind favored by a growing number of Americans on the left, right and center, in the aftermath of the catastrophic failure of a half century of neoliberal deregulation and globalization.

I Finally Agree with Krugman

I never thought I would find myself in wholehearted agreement with Paul Krugman.

Left, Right, and Center Discuss Federal Industrial Policies

American Compass’s research director Wells King shares key insights from the “Moving the Chains” policy symposium on the inaugural panel for the Industry Studies Association’s new webinar series.

Financialization in America

In this episode, Washington Free Beacon editor Aaron Sibarium and small business investor Sam Long discuss the financialization of American business culture and its impacts on our economy and society.

What’s the Best Way To Help Low-Income Workers? Automate Low-Income Jobs.

As we celebrate Labor Day, reducing unemployment and getting the COVID-impacted economy back to some semblance of normality is clearly the top economic task. But when that is done the economy will still face a critical labor market problem: too many workers earning too little. A recent Brookings study found that 44 percent of American adults workers make very little, with median annual earnings of just $18,000.

To Counter China, Some Republicans Are Abandoning Free-Market Orthodoxy

Jeanne Whalen reports on Republican enthusiasm for industrial policy, citing American Compass’s Moving the Chains report.

How Trump Has Changed the Republicans

The Saturday Essay features American Compass’s efforts to construct a new conservative governing philosophy.

How Corporate Actual Responsibility, Not Social Responsibility, Would Look

American Compass’s Oren Cass outlines the arguments from an open letter sent to the Business Roundtable calling for corporate actual responsibility.

Industrial Security Policy: New Missions for DoD, SBA and CFIUS

Thanks to the near-criminal negligence of neoliberal globalist policymakers in both the Democratic and Republican parties, America’s national industrial base, the foundation of its global power, has eroded to the point of collapse.

Intel’s Stumble is Very Bad for America

America used to dominate the semiconductor industry, but that leadership position is increasingly fragile. There are two parallel forces at work: the rise of our competitors and the decline of our domestic champions.

China and Civic Piety

The Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to eradicate the Uighur Muslim population in favor of the Han majority are horrifying. Programmatic abortions and sterilizations, slave labor, and “re-education” camps recall atrocities of the past. At the same time, the CCP’s ambitions for Hong Kong outrage westerners committed to liberty and the rule of law. And its record for the treatment of prisoners and religious dissidents is miserable. 

Why Neither Party Focuses on the Key Economic Issue: Enterprise Capabilities

The partisan rancor in Washington is worse than any time in the last century. But surprisingly when it comes to economic policy, both parties share a common view: policy needn’t be concerned about enterprise capabilities.

Rebuilding American Industry: Devil Is in the Details

David Goldman features his Moving the Chains symposium essay, “The Reshoring Imperative,” with new commentary directed at Joe Biden’s “Buy American” campaign.

On Buy American: Trump Should Listen to Steve Bannon, Not Steve Moore

A 2020 presidential contender unveiled a 700 billion dollar ‘Buy American’ plan today to rebuild America’s manufacturing sector devastated by the coronavirus.

Corporations in the Community of Communities

How should businesses balance shareholder interests with obligations to their workers, communities, and nation?

agricultural automation
All Productivity is Good: Even Automation

One of the few times when I have found myself in agreement with Paul Krugman is when he famously wrote, “Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run it is almost everything.” Yet, today, this statement is not only passé, but downright suspect, at least among many U.S. elites. For in a world characterized by neo-Luddite fear of new technologies and outlandish claims that technology will destroy most of our jobs, public and elite opinion has shifted to a view that “productivity is almost nothing, especially if any worker loses their job from it.”

U.S. Capitol Building at Dusk.
Steps in the Right Direction: Two Proposals for Funding U.S. Semiconductor Foundries

There are many reasons to be pessimistic about the future of this country at the moment, and most of them are hard to ignore. But there are also new glimmers of hope appearing in important areas, even if they don’t get much media attention.

An Industrial Policy by any Another Name…

The opinion pages of both the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal have featured calls for industrial policy in the past week, an encouraging trend toward realism about the necessary role for government in a free-market economy. In the Times, yesterday’s editorial warned against “the absence of a proactive industrial policy” and argued that “quick adoption or reiteration of a series of long-term industrial goals would … greatly benefit Britain’s post-coronavirus rebuild.” This expands notably on its observation at the pandemic’s start that “governments will have to accept a more active role in the economy” through public services and active labor-market policy. The Journal, for its part, took the confusing step of running an op-ed proposing industrial policy under the headline “America Doesn’t Need an Industrial Policy.” Continuing to haggle over the term even as the substance moves forward will generate some confusion, but it marks progress down the path toward better policy.

Should There be Legal and Ethical Limits to National Developmentalism?

ITIF recently released a report about how “innovation mercantilist” policies were instrumental in enabling China to dominate the global telecom equipment industry, and how that rise came at the expense Read more…

America Cottons on to Industrial Policy Again

Recently, I suggested that the United States would do well to emulate some aspects of China’s economic development model, largely on the grounds that this still constituted the optimal route to reindustrialization. If done correctly, reindustrialization can provide a key means of generating high quality jobs in the U.S. and a corresponding break from today’s prevailing market fundamentalist model characterized by precarious employment prospects, wage stagnation and the loss of many of the attributes long associated with a prosperous and stable middle class.

Contain China if Necessary, but Emulate Features of its Industrial Policy to Ensure Long Term Economic Prosperity

Robert Atkinson of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation has just written a very compelling analysis of China’s national industrial policy, especially in relation to the exponential growth of its telecommunications industry. Some of the key findings of the paper, “How China’s Mercantilist Policies Have Undermined Global Innovation in the Telecom Equipment Industry” are as follows:

America Must Fight For Global Industry Leadership Again

American Compass’s Wells King outlines the proposals from the “Moving the Chains” reshoring policy symposium.

Unexplored Pathways

A Response to David P. Goldman

Don’t Give Up on Bringing Manufacturing Back to the U.S.

Columnist Noah Smith appraises American Compass’s reshoring policy symposium: “Moving the Chains.”

A Better Model for Worker Training

A Response to Samuel Hammond

Change Market Structure, Not the Tax Code

A Response to Rob Atkinson

Echoing the Imperative

A Response to David P. Goldman

Diplomatic Considerations for LCRs

A Response to Michael Lind

Lessons from China

A Response to Michael Lind

Reshoring with the Government We Have

A Response to Ganesh Sitaraman

The Limits of Regulatory Capture

A Response to Ganesh Sitaraman

Doubling Down on R&D

A Response to Willy Shih

A Note on High-Tech Infrastructure

A Response to Willy Shih and Terrence Keeley

On Terms of Trade

The international trading system must recover the core principles of reciprocity, security, and democracy.

On Infrastructure Financing

A national development bank could attract the private capital that America’s infrastructure needs.

On Antitrust Enforcement

The American medical industry offers a case study of how market concentration undermines economic resilience.

On Agency Structure

A new task for government demands a new structure for its agencies.

On Regulatory Reform

Outdated environmental regulation poses an irrational barrier to reshoring efforts.

On Workforce Investment

Reshoring strategies can only go so far without investment in America’s skilled workforce.

On Domestic Sourcing

Local content requirements offer a simple intervention with benefits that its prohibitionist detractors ignore.

Moving the Chains

9 Strategies for Retaking Global Leadership in Industry and Innovation

On Tax Incentives

A tax credit for domestic investment is the best way to reduce production costs.

On Research & Development

Pre-competitive research consortia are vital to sparking innovation.

Foreword: The Reshoring Imperative

You may not be interested in supply chains, but supply chains are interested in you.

Executive Summary

Nine strategies for retaking global leadership in industry and innovation

Economies of Scale Versus Big Business

Last week, some very large employers – including Salesforce, Tesla, and Walmart – called for a corporate merger moratorium for hospitals and doctors groups. It’s unusual to have the paragons of big business assert the need for aggressive antitrust, but it speaks to how confused our current economic debates really are.

Marco Rubio Takes on Deindustrialization and Race

The decline in American manufacturing hurt workers of every racial background.

Is It Time for an American Industrial Policy?

American Compass’s Oren Cass participates in a written debate with Duke University’s Michael Munger over the need for American industrial policy.

Hamiltonian Means, Jeffersonian Ends

My American Compass co-blogger, Michael Lind, likes to portray America’s development as a tug of war between the ideals of Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson — nation builders and industrialists on the one hand, and laissez-faire localists on the other. 

We Will NOT Run Out of Jobs

This seems like a strange headline given that the economy has recently shed almost 40 million jobs. But at some point with the development of a vaccine or an effective treatment, the economy will come back to normal.

Japan Offers a Compelling ‘Back to the Future’ Model

Japan has announced newly defined restrictions on foreign investment, which at face value, seem to violate the provisions of the World Trade Organization agreement.

Government, Not Markets Can Best Pick Winners

China’s economic rise and the damage inflicted on U.S. industry has been a wakeup call to many U.S. policymakers. But most conventional economists continue to hold firm to their ideological notion that only the market can respond, and that any more proactive government action, particularly focused on key sectors or technologies, is doomed to fail.

Rebooting the American System

The comprehensive, conservative case for a return to robust national economic policy

Planning for When the Market Cannot

The fact that government planners are not omniscient is obvious, but it does not automatically follow that planning is always ineffective. Perfect information is simply not a precondition of successful planning in either the private or the public sectors.

Foreword: On Security

The American system of innovation, combining strategic investment and private enterprise, made our nation’s industry the envy of the world. It can pave the way for widespread prosperity and security again today.

Rediscovering a Genuine American System

Economic stability, national security, widely shared prosperity, strong families, a pluralistic society—in short, the American way of life—are achievements plainly worth conserving. So is the only approach to economic policy that has ever proved capable of producing them.

Foreword: On Resilience

America’s ability to meet the challenges of tomorrow rests on our conviction to turn a new economic page today.

Removing the Blinders From Economic Policy

Remove the blinders of economic fundamentalism, and it is impossible not to see the social, legal, historical, and institutional scaffolding that buttresses a growing economy, and the role that public policy must play in its construction and maintenance.

Comparative Disadvantage

If comparative advantage is created rather than discovered, refusing to play the game has consequences.

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