There is at least one positive to Trump's approach, though.
Venture capitalism has a disproportionate impact on the economy. It helps to ensure that technological innovation enriches the few and sustains jobless economic growth. Industrial policy in the hands of the government ideally creates wealth and spreads it around. Venture capitalists pick a handful of winners as part of a process of concentrating wealth in fewer and fewer hands.
With the current domestic natural gas boom serving as a bridge to this solar future, the United States has a chance to claim its role as a "solar superpower." But we must first recognize the need for a course correction in our industrial policy.
Can governments do anything to make their people more innovative? And, if they cannot, are we saying that those middle-income countries who fail to climb the technological ladder are "trapped" forever?
We need to think differently about trade. First, let me say that I am 100% in favor of trade. Trade is when we do what we do best, they do what they do best, and we trade. Trade, done right, will raise living standards.
Whatever happens to the price of those commodities matters a great deal for development and, even more, for the war on poverty. The problem is that those prices are famously volatile.
It is an old debate. Back in the '50s and '60s, from Asia to Latin-America, an idea caught fire among development economists: governments should try to create industries.
It is as if America woke up one morning to find that its arteries were sclerotic, its limbs stiff, its appetites and drives waning. Can we rouse ourselves and recover the suppleness of youth?
The world's best communications and transportation systems are no longer America's. The world's highest-value, largest and most dynamic industries are no longer America's. There is only one global industry that America truly dominates: Facebook. It employs 6,000 people.