Warren's "economic patriotism" is dirigisme by another name

“Economic patriotism” has been a popular idea in the United States for a century or so, but it is not an idea of American origin. It was a German idea in the 1930s, and an Italian idea during the Fascist era, and a French idea long before that, one generally associated with Jean-Baptiste Colbert, a 17th-century politician who served as an economic and trade adviser to King Louis XIV. Like President Trump, he favored high tariffs and expensive public works, which he believed to have a stimulating effect on the economy. Like Senator Warren, he favored strict regulation of industry (noncomplying business owners were put into stocks; if Senator Warren really wants to lure those Bernie voters . . .) and active management of the labor market. These policies came to be known as dirigisme. They did not do much for France, and other countries that have tried to replicate them, such as India, inflicted catastrophic damage on their peoples and economies…

“Economic patriotism” sounds lovely, if you are naïve and have an IQ right around that of a not-especially-bright schnauzer, but how do these big ideas work out in practice? During Strickland’s governorship, major employers left Ohio in considerable numbers — one of them, National Cash Register, cited Strickland and his administration specifically — and, as the Cincinnati Enquirer put it: “By most economic measures, Ohio was in a worse place when Strickland left office than when he started. The unemployment rate had doubled at one point. The state lost nearly 368,000 jobs. Only two states lost more jobs over the four-year period.”

Senator Warren proposes to impose the same philosophy on the country as a whole.