Re: A bit simplistic
The model that I find most attractive is that an economy is essentially a complex dynamic system and a very non linear one at that. Any attempt to 'control' it is useless as the only way to do that is to damp down its ability to respond to almost anything, so command and control economies are OK if nothing changes, but will be inefficient in times of rapid (technological?) growth.
Laissez faire capitalism doesn't attempt to control, it just follows.
And that may ultimately be the least worst of all approaches. In the absence of an external moral standard, one can only judge attempts to control economies on the moral standards of those who have imposed them. That is, for example, did the application of communism result in the sort of world those that espoused its principles wanted? I would say not.
In the UK 15 years of Labour has resulted in a less, not more, equal society.
And there I find myself poised on the horns of a dilemma. Those that espouse the sort of Corbynist policies are all good well meaning people for the most part: They see politics as a means of expressing ideals about the nation state, and ideals about human progress that are arguably laudable.
Those that decry them, do so on the grounds that such an idealistic approach is not only massively implausible, but, if implemented, would lead to in many cases the reverse of the 'ideal' solution.
We have in effect a battlefield between idealism and pragmatism in terms of the political map, and that strikes at the very heart of the matter, which is I believe expressed very simply: What, in the final analysis, is the point of government at all?
To the Left it would seem to be a moral instrument tasked with presenting a hope filled picture of human endeavour. To the pragmatic right, it is merely a necessary evil that should impinge upon the freedom of the individual only so far as to ensure some form of social stability and cohesion.
Pragmatists are more humble: They do not presume to know what the fate of Man should be, nor seek to dictate its terms. Merely that men do not routinely slaughter each other, steal from each other, and obey the minimal set of public codes that seem reasonable to the majority.
To me the flaw in the Left's model is that if people do not willingly follow its tenets, they insist on enforcing them, by diktat, legislation or deep moralising. In so doing they oppress the very class they claim to represent, because they 'know better' than the people themselves 'what is good for them'.
If we, the people , do not know what is good for us, why on earth do we have a vote at all?
And indeed, we can see that where Leftish power structures really rule, that democratic right becomes an irrelevance and a nuisance. As the standing joke goes:
"Democracy means one man, one vote. And I am that man" (attributed to a fictitious Robert Mugabe).
What ultimately do we expect a government to deliver in economic terms, and what ultimately is its scope?
The Assumptive Close of the Left has been to skip over the question of whether or not it is a valid thing for a government to engage in social and economic engineering at all, to move the agenda to the exact means by which it shall do it.
It may be time to challenge that assumption, because in times of rapid change and deep political instability and economic fragility, it is possible that government's role must needs change to simply ensure political stability at almost any price, or risk being swept aside by forces who have no intention of preserving social order, freedom or democracy, but imply using force of arms or naked economic power to dominate for the narrow interests of a very few.
Finally, in the context of economics, the real correlation of 20th century growth has been one single fact alone. Petroleum.
Lightweight independent machines to replace the sweat of the working man's brow (or his horse) , running on dirt cheap fuel, allowed a complete and total transformation of production and transport (and war)..
Electricity generation followed by cost reducing the application of that fuel. The devastating combination of fossil fuel and electrical energy means that anywhere any time you have a power source to do the 'heavy lifting' at far far less cost than human energy. Toss in computer technology and robotics, and that's another layer of white collar work that simply vanishes. Add expert systems to THAT and good bye to many skilled jobs as well - how much of e.g. general practice of doctors is matching a reported set of symptoms to an internalised database of disease knowledge and producing a diagnosis and a treatment plan? How hard is it to make a driverless train or car that is safer than a human driven one?
No, the reality of the 20th century was nothing to do with politics, or economic theory, and everything to do with the rapid exploitation of technology, especially power technology, and post WWII the IT revolution.
Nobody intended it to happen, no one designed it on ideological grounds: It happened because it could.
Ex of the sort of totalitarian systems that would e.g. Ban the Wheel in a hugely Luddite system that would 'restore the dignity of human labour' and keep peasants in their place forever we are stuck with a population level that can not be sustained without the application of massive amounts of energy and highly developed technology.
All those urban Greens who dream longingly of windmills and solar panels would be dead within a week if that was all we had to rely upon.
And that is the irony of politics. The urge to achieve idealised solutions, and the transformation of politics into a battlefield of morally inspired ideals, is ultimately the gross decadence of the West. Before you can go chasing ideals, first of all you need a society and infrastructure that actually works well enough to keep its population alive. And defend it from those who see it as nothing more than a morally decayed occupier of a bit of real estate that would be highly welcome to them.
Economic growth is more or less a symptom that you have such a system in place. Economic growth relies on a very few things, and none of them are ideals.
It relies on a sufficient resource base to draw upon, and sufficiently sophisticated population to understand and maintain the system that exploits those resources and just enough political authority to ensure that the fruits of that exploitation are distributed sufficiently to avoid major political instability, or, failing that, a sufficiently cynical 'peacekeeping' force that divides the world into those that shall have, and those that shall not, on pain of death.
Economics and economic theory is almost irrelevant in that picture. As are emotional ideals.
And the philosophy of Marxism, that drives the left, is almost utterly irrelevant in a world in which there are no human workers, only machines.