Edward Skidelsky, perhaps inadvertently, draws our attention to the difference between the social democratic and Marxian views of the state. He says:
The state...should drop the mask of neutrality and come out in favour of the good life...An economic system geared to the production of baubles and gadgets leads us away from the good life, not towards it.
This is the social democratic conception of the state - that it should help promote individuals' flourishing. To which the Marxist replies: It ain't gonna happen, chummy.
This is because, to Marxists, the principal function of the state is not to promote human thriving, except as a by-product. Instead, as James O'Connor wrote in The Fiscal Crisis of the State (which hasn't aged badly in the last 40 years):
The capitalistic state must try to fulfill two basic and often mutually contradictory function - accumulation and legitimation.
Both these functions point to the state acting against Skidelsky's conception of the good life.
In order to support capitalist accumulation and profits, the state must ensure that there's a ready supply of labour: one aim of the Beveridge report was to "make and keep men fit for service." This keeps welfare benefits sufficiently low to stop people dropping out or downsizing as Skidelsky would like, and compels them to enter the labour market.
Secondly, as part of its legitimation function, the state must supply social services such as health or education. As MacIntyre said, the state is "a bureaucratic supplier of goods and services, which is always about to, but never actually does, give its clients value for money." But thanks to the Baumol effect, the relative cost of many of these services tends to rise over time. This requires tax revenues to rise, and the least painful way of ensuring this is to pursue economic growth.
The endorsement of economic growth, then, is not a mere intellectual error of the state to be deplored by high-minded people such as Skidelsky. It is instead, a fundamental feature of it.
Now, one criticism of the Marxist view is that it is not falsifiable. If the state pursues growth-friendly policies, we say it is pursuing its accumulation function, and if it does other things we say it's pursuing the legitimation function. We win each way.
In this context, though, this criticism is wrong. If the state were to introduce a citizens' basic income - sufficiently high and unconditional to permit more people to downsize to what Skidelsky calls "simpler, less acquisitive modes of living" - then the Marxist view of the state would be falsified.
My suspicion is that this won't happen because Marxists are right.