The American economy has been driven by waves of technological change and the successful adoption of ideas from elsewhere. Michael Lind, the author of “Land of Promise,” tells us how it happened, and what history teaches us about the way ahead.
The BrowserYour latest book is a sweeping economic history of America. In a nutshell, how did America become such an economic powerhouse?
Well, it did so as a result of collaboration between the government and the private sector and, increasingly in the 20th century, the nonprofit, academic research sector. It’s quite a different story in reality from the tale that is sometimes told of how capitalism grew up without controls in the United States, and then with the New Deal it came under regulation. In fact, the government both at the federal and the state level was deeply involved with projects for promoting the industrialization of the United States and the creation of a capitalist market from the administration of George Washington onward.