The Roosevelt Institute believes our economy will only work for everyone when our government sets new rules rooted in shared values of equity, inclusion, and sustainability. These new rules must reject the outdated paradigms that underlie our economy—for example, the belief that there is such a thing as a free market, the acceptance of Black and brown lives as expendable, the notion that education and hard work can overcome entrenched inequality, and a disregard for the limited availability of natural resources. In place of these neoliberal paradigms, the government must take responsibility for creating broadly shared, long-term prosperity while acknowledging and repairing the damage done by the failed paradigms of the past.
Roosevelt’s work explores the paradigm shifts and policy changes this vision requires. Often, we argue that government must step in as a direct provider of, or investor in, critical goods and services. In other cases, it is more appropriate for government to set goals and guardrails—for example, to foster the industries we need and prevent the growth of exploitative corporate power. Across the board, we believe government must reshape our economy into one that fosters equity and resiliency. But it can—and will only—play this role if its institutions are truly democratic.
The government is always practicing industrial policy, whether it acknowledges it or not. Our industrial policy and trade work seeks to build a theory and practice of how and when the government should directly shape markets to better serve Americans.