What Javier Milei Could Teach Democrats and Republicans About Capitalism
In a thrilling address at the World Economic Forum, Javier Milei, President of Argentina, presented a robust defense of capitalism and a critical examination of all forms of collectivism. His speech, rich in historical context and economic analysis, offers some vital lessons that are particularly relevant for today’s globalized economy. Sadly, these lessons have long been ignored by American politicians on the right and left, whether in Washington or on the campaign trail.
Milei began with a stark warning about the dangers of collectivist policies based on Argentina’s own, sometimes sad, history. Once a beacon of prosperity under a capitalist framework, Argentina’s shift toward collectivism over the past century caused its prosperity to plummet from a leading global position to a much lower rank. Its story illustrates how losing sight of free market principles can result in economic stagnation or even absolute poverty.
This point is crucial. Milei reminds us that no matter how noble the intentions are behind collectivist policies, whether it’s fighting climate change, obtaining justice for all, or enhancing national security—and whether they are pushed, as Milei says, by “communist, fascist, socialist, social democrats, national socialists, Christian democrats, neo-Keynesians, progressives, populists, nationalists, or globalists”—attempting to solve problems in this way harms the very people who are meant to be helped.
Now, readers may think this historical lesson is irrelevant for the United States. After all, Argentina has been an economic basket case, and America in 2024 is still one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Anyone who has taken, as I have, the naturalization test also knows that the expected answer to “what is the economic system of the United States?” is “free market.” That one made me smile.
Unfortunately, Milei’s warning is relevant to us. While much of our economy remains relatively free, every part of it is subjected
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