Leaving economy and policy alone to the powerful and predatory has proven, once again, to be a disaster for the vast majority and society in general.
All of the current dismal results have occurred under the rubric of "free markets" and "free trade." But free for whom? For what? And to what end?
One would assume the very meaning of economy and definition of economics would embrace the will of entire populations making up the marketplace. However, in "our" economy the wishes of the vast, wage-earning, majority today have no sway, no say, and little or no influence in what have become ruling elite's "managed democracies."
What we have today is a Lousy-Faire Economics, a term I feel more accurately describes the complete absence of the wage-earning majority from any influence over their own economy and marketplaces. It is another way of saying the people are completely subject to the influence of the profit-seeking few - i.e. to the big corporations, to the banksters, and to all the "Washington Consensus" lackeys of the ruling elite populating our government.
Free markets for whom?
In a laissez-faire "free market' economy the real freedom is always for that of the strong, rich, and influential who freely utilize their greater powers of propaganda and outright extortion over the many in unrelenting, for-profit, ventures. As a result of this societal distortion and "factor imbalance" between labor and capital we don't have free markets. Neither do we have any real democracy in economics. What we have is the complete subjugation of the majority to the welfare of capital, and to the subsidy of big corporations and mega-rich individuals. What prevails is the on-going protectionism of capital and extortion of labor - in effect, a socialism for the too-big-to-fail and a debt-money penury for the "little people" taxpayers.
With technological improvement, both economies and the populace in general should be steadily advancing, and hopefully increasing their per-capita wealth and natural estates - the latter, however, subject to continual diminishment due to ongoing population increase and environmental ruin.
A generally salutary state of affairs would occur and abide if there were some ongoing balance of power between labor and capital in our institutions and within our economic theory and practice. However, when a "factor balance" of power (see my book Cap-Com, The Economics Of Balance) is broken and the societal power of either labor or capital becomes complete, then economy and economics are completely distorted and the outcomes predictably dismal.
The current distortion and dismal outcome for the majority is clearly due to the overwhelming power of capital in "our" economy and society. Until we rectify this factor imbalance we will fail to progress and, worse, will regress to an even worsened estate for the majority. Due to oligarchic "free trade" and private central bank debt-money policies the First World nations are effectively losing all the middle-class gains of the twentieth century.
Once again we have a clear picture of what this unregulated power of capital induces and brings to our lives - i.e., a sick "economy" of lies, distortions, predation, theft, piracy, and unmerited wealth from utterly useless and parasitic "investment' activities. Further, the policy of "free trade" in a still greatly disparate and largely undemocratic world, for example, has resulted in the First World's near complete dependence upon a totalitarian "capitalist" power. In other words, the so-called "free market" has now put us in chains, with democracy shackled and labor tortured.
Even Adam Smith, touted as the father of Laissez Faire economic, wasn't so naive however. As he stated in The Wealth Of Nations: "Masters [employers] are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labour... Masters, too, sometimes enter into combination to sink the wages of labour even below this rate... in all such disputes the masters can hold out much longer"
So even Adam Smith understood the ongoing conspiracy of capital against labor, against democracy, against fairness, and responsible society.