Why America Should Compete to Win in Advanced Industries

April 13, 2022


  • If policymakers want to advance American economic welfare and strength, the United States must compete strenuously against other nations, including our allies, to gain a greater share of global value added produced by these advanced industries.
  • Yet, global neoliberals believe “countries don’t compete.” They worry that if policymakers start thinking we do, they will embrace either protectionism (e.g., tariffs and “Buy America” provisions) or industrial policy—or, worst of all, both.
  • Likewise, many progressives downplay the reality of economic competition out of concern for the rest of the world. They also think the most important issues are domestic, mostly revolving around the division of a fixed economic pie.
  • There is only so much demand for advanced industries such as jet airplanes, machine tools, software, or semiconductors—and that means one country’s gain in market share is another country’s loss.
  • Advanced-industry production is critical to America because it supports national defense, international competitiveness, and good-paying jobs.
  • The U.S. share of seven key global industries fell from 24.1 percent in 2006 to 22.9 percent in 2018, while these industries also contributed a smaller share of overall U.S. economic output.