Income taxes in the united states were passed in 1913. Prior to 1913, americans enjoyed periods of greater than 10% economic growth per year. After income taxes were passed economic growth slowed. The real golden era of economic growth was pre income tax era. The only reason the united states did well post WWII is basically the entire civilized world was bombed back to the stone age except for russia and the united states. Both countries leveraged that advantage to become the next 2 dominant superpowers.
Its inaccurate to assume there was no hierarchy involved in pre income tax era america. Community and family units were much more emphasized and those societal links were much stronger back then.
The problem with the private sector is, post industrial age nearly everyone has given up living on independent farms for city living. A good chunk of the independance people enjoyed by having their own life and their own source of food and being able to provide for themselves was lost.
Now everyone relies on corporations for work and for their livelihood. This has eroded the independance people once had and gives the private sector more power than it should.
The only way to return to the type of economic growth and expansion you're describing is for some type of permaculture movement to become mainstream. People would have to find alternate ways of living and providing for themselves other than having jobs at living at the mercy of the private sector for them to enjoy the kind of independant life where the average person is self sufficient enough to survive without corporate conformism.
If you want a hard number as to how over-reliance on the private sector as a provider has negatively affected peoples lives, in the dark ages the average number of holidays the average serf enjoyed were 189 per year. That's 189 vacation days/holidays/days off out of a 365 day calender year.
What's the average number of holidays/days off the average worker in 2016 has? Around 104 if they work 5 days a week.
Historically from the dark ages till now, people have lost near to 50% of the holidays they used to have. Is it due to regulation? No. Its due to other factors. The same can be said about economic growth. The economy is definitely being stifled by some regulation but that doesn't mean regulation is entirely bad or cannot be a good thing. It also doesn't mean regulation is the issue, rather the issue is the lack of education which leads people to support bad regulation policy.
So you see it isn't only economic growth that is flailing behind historical standards, things are becoming more worse in other ways as well.
Regulation isn't too blame. There was communal regulation in the form of sheriffs and town elders. There always was some form of hierarchy or chain of command even when there was no federal government to regulate things. There's nothing that suggests past eras of american life were completely deregulated. Or that across the board deregulation is a viable option.
Also there is nothing to suggest that regulation is to blame for many of the negatives faced by society. That has more to do with how families, values and roles have been whittled away over time, as we've gradually become more isolated from the political and economic policies affect us. People have gradually become less independent and less self sufficient over time. It has to do with how people have gradually become more dependent upon governments and the private sector to provide for them. And thus the state and private sector being able to get away with increasingly exploitive practices and sabotaging things like the economy to maintain the status quo.
The last thing fat cats on the top of the economic food chain want is for younger, hungrier, talent working their way up to out innovate them and take over. That's why the economy and job markets are weak. Its why the government passes regulation which stifles small businesses which prevents jobs from being created and the economy from growing. Its because the people on top are afraid of the next apple, or the next google started in someone's garage. So they deliberately stifle education, innovation & the economy. To make conditions tougher for people to have the economic freedom and prosperity they need to succeed.
I agree! With everything you say actually, well thought out post. But I think you're not getting to the root cause underneath it all, so I'll add on to that if I may.
I agree that the major reason for US prosperity pre 1913 was because of zero income taxation and very low other taxes. Who then slowly turned up the flame on taxes? The govt. did of course. So by your own argument it is govt. regulation (yes income tax is also a form of regulation) that destroyed American prosperity.
Then slowly, people were made dependent on corporations for livelyhood, moving from their full, independent life where they provided for themselves in the lush countryside to filthy, cramped cities to work for pennies in coal mines and factories.
I agree completely, this is also what slowly eroded their prosperity and living standards, but what do you think caused all this? Do you think anyone would willingly give up that kind of full live and independence to be an enslaved chimney sweep with asthma? Why would they CHOOSE to do that?
The answer again is govt., but very sneakily and indirectly. The earlier model for power hungry sociopaths (monarchs and royal families) to accumulate and increase their power was to use direct military force to enforce the feudal pyramid. But believe it or not, this was a weaker control than what we have today, and susceptible to revolutions and simple disobedience. As you said, even the serfs back then had better hours than the "free" industrial and modern workers of later years.
The more sophisticated solution is to let the slaves believe they're free, and run endlessly like hamsters in a wheel while enforcing their own slavery, all for a carrot hung ahead. The carrot is money, rather, inherently worthless fiat money which can and is used to take everything the slaves have (time, work, materials, even bodies and minds) while they can print it to oblivion.
The reason people moved from small family farms and workshops to become factory and mine drones was because their independence was systematically DESTROYED through enforcement of this fiat currency, especially after the arrival of the Federal Reserve note in 1913, which caused the great Depression within a couple of decades.
First, targeted force and propaganda was used to outlaw all local currencies (the original greenbacks made by the people), reduce direct use of gold and silver, barters, and means of direct commerce between free people. Instead they were forced to use paper money issued by govt., purportedly backed by gold and silver (gold and silver was also later forcibly confiscated from people by govt. in 1933). The rest of the world was brought on the same boat with slowly enforcing the dollar as the global currency (which is why any world leader who challenges it is of course given a strong dose of F-16 "freedom").
Then, slowly the gold standard was diluted and eventually ended, making paper money backed by NOTHING. And of course, the use of paper money allowed it to be printed endlessly and be accumulated by corrupt politicians, banks and corporations in league with them through lobbying. Which they then used to inflate the prices of everything of real value, and slowly accumulate the land and resources of the countryside and free people, forcing them into cities as destitute labor. Never was this trick performed on a larger scale than during the Great Depression.
Of course to speed things along, Wars and propaganda are always handy. Two artificially flamed world wars (financed both sides by the same banks and corporations), hundreds of millions of widows and orphans shunted right along to the cities as slave labor, easy reasons to confiscate anything of value (gold, silver, land) and create more obedient military drones dying in trenches for "freedom" and "right" while giving up every little shred of it. The war racket had been used for millenia before, but the world wars really made these guys laugh all the way to the bank.
So while I agree with every point you make, I think you are mistaking the slavers for the saviors, which of course is the plan all along. Sure, things like minimum wage and welfare and corporate regulations are nice little "reliefs" given by the hijackers to the hostages, but it's no more than Stockholm Syndrome.
Because the whole reason they need "relief" instead of being free and prosperous on their own is because of the systems created by the same people to impoverish them. Not even everyone in govt. is in on it, some have the best intentions and some are just trying to make a quick buck but not be truly evil. But as a whole, the controlling forces from the top down are always the same.
Sure there were always hierarchies and structures ... family, local sheriffs, mayors etc. But these were decentralized, millions of them with very small accumulations of power. Not all can be corrupted, or bribed, or blackmailed, or attacked. Especially not families, which are build on a biological love - I know that even this is imperfect and corruptible in this world but the base is there still. The larger and more centralized the govt., the easier it is to corrupt and control everything underneath it. It is what people in tech and security call a "single point of failure".