Even if we restrict ourselves to purely economic progress, still there is little evidence that the market is the thing. Economists know this but do not always say it. Prosperity roughly equals productivity and increasing productivity is the ability to do things faster. The thing that helps us do that is replacing human power (or horse power) with machine power which requires machines, and machines come from advances in science and technology.
During this economic golden age between 1945 and 1975, GDP per capita in the UK grew at an astonishing 2.7% per annum. But this rate could not be sustained and we are now back on the 1.4% trend dating back to the time of Robert Stephenson.
Now you could argue that technology needs free markets to flourish but the evidence is not there for this. In fact between 1920 and 1980 GDP per capita rose much faster in the `non-free’ Soviet Union (by a factor of 12) than in the `free’ USA (a factor of 3.4), albeit the Soviet Union started from a much lower base.
Actually, this has been tested. The Soviet Union managed no increase in total factor productivity over its 70 years. The US however…..