Does the U.S. need more industrial policy? Bridgewater’s CEO thinks so

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Good morning.

Bridgewater CEO David McCormick published a 37-page piece in the Texas National Security Review calling for a much more active government role in developing and promoting American technology and economic power in the world. McCormick and his coauthors call for a national innovation policy to help build a wide range of key technologies like 5G, A.I., bioengineering and more. And he calls on policy makers to “integrate economic and national security policy” to address growing concerns about “the rise of China, the erosion of the American dream, the perceived failures of American leadership, and America’s relative loss of power.”

I spoke with McCormick yesterday, and asked him why the head of the world’s largest hedge fund is calling for a vastly expanded national industrial policy. He cited “a very personal set of experiences”—he is a West Point graduate who served as Undersecretary of the Treasury in the Bush administration before joining Bridgewater in 2009—that has convinced him that “national security and economic security is very bifurcated” in the U.S. government, and needs to converge. “The world is changing a lot, China is the main strategic competitor, and we don’t have as clear a strategy as China in promoting primacy.”

McCormick said he started thinking about the piece six months ago, before the coronavirus hit. But the pandemic “has accelerated the strategic competition and brought to the forefront some of the challenges with China, and raised concerns about supply chains.” You can read the full treatise here, but be prepared: McCormick shares his predecessor Ray Dalio’s aversion to brevity.

More news below. And take time today to read Shawn Tully’s smart take on whether Apple’s share buybacks make sense.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray

[email protected]

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