Principles of Economic Planning and Justice
The reason the socialists (and populists in general) have been winning as much as they have is that they are they only major faction that doesn’t tell a particularly stale set of lies about economics. In particular, they hold a few important truths hostage:
The state in fact has a major and central role in planning economic development. When it stops, so does the economy, for the most part. The market entrepreneurship story of how development and innovation happen is false.
Who gets paid what is not a matter of natural necessity and just deserts, but a very political question subject to deliberate policy or manipulative exploitation. Society, not “the market”, is responsible to ensure just and effective distribution.
America’s economic system is overrun with corruption, grift, exploitation, and fakeness, and it’s rapidly getting worse. This is most visible in the prices for housing, healthcare, and education, but it goes all over.
We have a responsibility to make things work for everyone in our society, within material constraints, given sincere good behavior on their part.
We aren’t just in this for our individual material satisfaction, but for the grand adventures that we undertake together, and our shared dreams for a future that is better not just materially, but socially, spiritually, and environmentally. Society isn’t about bread alone, but also meaning.
These are important truths that no other major faction is willing to speak. Many actively deny them. That said, the smarter libertarians have recently conceded on “state capacity”, which is their word for state directed economics.
But the socialists also get some stuff catastrophically wrong. They would deny these other truths:
The market and entrepreneurship, free of vetocracy and overregulation, is necessary to effective economic calculation and industrial ecosystem depth, and a great system of economic discipline to wring mundane corruption and waste out of the system.
Complex ventures, which is to say society, depends on individual decision makers having the authority to experiment, plan, and execute those ventures, without undue interference and committee oversight. This means small and large scale private property, but also large amounts of individually-held and owned political and social power and secure status.
Society is organized in a functional hierarchy, with its parts, people as well as institutions, surbordinated to its overall teleology and purpose structure. Society does not exist for the sake of its individuals, but is itself a higher level organism and end in itself.
There is much more that can be said; there is enough nonsense from all corners in economic discourse that even contradicting them, let alone refuting them, would be a full time job. Without a new paradigm, enterprising demagogues are going to continue to score points against political order and economic sanity, and semi-automated economists will continue to chop up and liquidate the economy for forgotten reasons.
The new paradigm needs to start with insights like the above, especially recovering the organizing role of the state in the economy, without losing the insights of Hayek etc, and the positive role of the billionaire hero entrepreneur.