As the president looks for partners in business, Dow Chemical's Andrew Liveris has emerged as a champion of government helping the private sector
Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris. Image credit: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters
Last January, Andrew Liveris, the CEO of Dow Chemical, published a book called Make it in America that laid out a path for the United States to reclaim its onetime manufacturing dominance. Four pages into his preface, he warned readers to expect a surprise. "If you picked [the book] up thinking this was another long complaint by another CEO who wants nothing more than for government to back off, recede from the picture, do nothing, and let the markets rule," he wrote, "then I'm afraid you'll be disappointed."
Indeed, they would. The book details an ambitious agenda to set U.S. manufacturing back on a course for success, arguing that if the country cedes production of all the high-tech gadgets it produces, it will also lose the competitive edge on future innovation. Liveris calls for rebuilding the country's crumbling infrastructure; overhauling the education system to include a greater focus on science, math, and engineering; bulking up the clean-energy industry; making the tax code more competitive; and streamlining regulations -- all in partnership with, not opposition to, the government.
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Sound familiar? It should. Liveris' framework bears a striking resemblance to the economic vision that President Obama put forth in his January 25 State of the Union address mere weeks after Make it in America hit stores - one that includes regulatory overhaul, an infrastructure bank, a rewrite of the No Child Left Behind Act and more investment in research and development.