When faced with real emergencies like the Great Depression and World War 2, governments around the world, regardless of ideology behaved with the same tendency. From the Soviet Union to the United States, the state exercised great direct control over the economy. When things get tough, every economy leans towards becoming a command economy. We know we’ve stumbled on a constant of government when everybody does it.
Free market apologists who see all control as communism might point out how the Soviets were forced to allow privatized farm plots. But they ignore the importance of anti-monopoly laws, inventions from NASA/DARPA research, or the highway system in the US. Rather than one extreme or the other, there’s clearly a spectrum between control and freedom and the goal is to find a golden mean.
The ability of the market to self-regulate and create spontaneous solutions makes it valuable as an RandD department for society.
Plus it’s better and easier to let the crowd decide on the price of eggs than have some overpaid state bureaucrat do it.
State capitalism then allows the market to do what it does best while controlling the “commanding heights.”
This means, you don’t let the finance sector control the banking system, foreign billionaires buy up utilities and newspapers, or let competing railroads be laid down in different gauges by competing companies. If you have a strategic commodity like oil or natural gas, you don’t leave anything to chance.
Free market capitalism, on the other hand, allows market entities to capture and control the commanding heights. Then the parasite load predictably spirals out of control until basic needs like healthcare are both low-quality and crushingly expensive. At this point, this kind of system becomes an anachronistic, dysfunctional embarassment.
What’s worse, is laissez faire capitalism has been tried before in the USA and failed every time. Yet it somehow escaped becoming discredited as communism was. In the 1890s people finally had enough after the gilded age of robber barons culminated in yet another economic crisis. Then, when laissez faire economics returned in the 1920s, the result was the disaster of the world-wide Great Depression that became a major cause of WW2.
Today, a sprawling US Star Empire spanning an entire continent and careening toward the 400 million population mark with every known alien race represented on its city-planets finds it simply no longer has the luxury of failing to govern itself. If it does not change of its own volition, emergencies will force it to change.
Meanwhile, all around the world, various shades of state capitalism preside over rapidly growing economies with governments that aggressively pursue the national interest.
In stark contrast, free market nations are stagnant at best, allow a pan-national elite to indulge in banana republic exploitation, crushing wages with off-shoring and the never-ending mass immigration of hostile peoples.
The leaders of state capitalist countries commonly have approval ratings over 80% while it’s typical for the do-nothing US congress to have under 20% approval. The last French president–I’m not sure how that’s possible–had less than 10% approval! It is not hard to see in which direction the future lies.