The Next American Frontier: Liberalism, Technology, and the Quest for a New Industrial Policy in the 1980s
This paper analyzes the evolution of liberal plans for an “industrial policy” focused on high-technology industries during the 1980s. It considers the significance of industrial policy proposals, whether instantiated in Congressional legislation and business-association lobbying or as a more diffuse set of economic discourses, to how political liberalism was recast in response to Reagan-era, free-market conservatism. The paper offers a corrective to narratives about the rise of “neoliberalism” by emphasizing long-term continuity in liberalism’s commitment to state-guided economic development, while acknowledging that these proposals’ focus on the knowledge economy reinforced – even shaped – modern liberalism’s realignment around a new “professional class.”
Respondent: Daniel Geary, Trinity College Dublin
About the History of Capitalism Seminar Series
The History of Capitalism Seminar provides a works-in-progress forum for work from scholars at all levels. Proposals may consider a variety of subjects, including the history of race and racism, gender and feminist studies, intellectual history, political history, legal history, business history, the history of finance, labor history, cultural history, urban history, and agricultural history. Elizabeth Tandy Shermer (Loyola University Chicago) and Andrew Hartman (Illinois State University) are the co-coordinators of the seminar.