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Laissez faire does not refer to the lack of welfare state but rather the lack of government interference in the economy in general. No state is currently even remotely like that. If you've been paying attention over the last 50 years the countries with the strongest presence in the economy typically do the worst. Exceptions are for countries with rich natural resources per capita like Norway or Sweden.

The free market naturally raises the standard of living and wages because it allows people to act in their own self interest and try things that might go really well or fail. The notion that minimum wage laws helps anyone outside of unions is laughable. It effectively puts a floor on wages and makes marginal work illegal. This means the young and unskilled don't get jobs while those who belong to unions do. This hurts the poor at the expense of the middle class. Countries in Africa that are quite poor often have very high minimum wages because they made the mistake you're making. High wages don't lead to prosperity. Prosperity leads to higher wages.

But, China has a centrally planned command economy built around subsidies, wholesale-rate or zero-interest loans and development grants, and nationalization. Of course, there is not one country on earth that has an economic trajectory as high. They are experiencing the largest uplift from abject agrarian subsistence to working- and middle-class job creation in the history of civilization. Obviously they do not have the raw materials within their borders to stem that insatiable hunger for growth, thus their foray into resource-rich Africa (and, btw, directly contributing to the relatively quick rise of the African middle-class, as well).

Heck the US during and after WWII was centrally planned, and it caused the largest economic growth the world has ever seen, until China's in the 1990s to now. Actually, one needn't look any further than the Marshall Plan to see that government intervention and fiscal stimulus can propel countries to prosperity worldwide.

Without a larger central body taking a macroeconomic view and actually being the "invisible hand" that Adam Smith relegated to the self-regulating market, Europe probably would have never recovered from either of the world wars and the US possibly wouldn't have seen the growth it did post-WWII.

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