The Gospel According to Javier Milei

Tim Blair devoted a recent Sweetness & Light to Argentina, which he visited to see how free-marketeer Javier Milei’s efforts are going to turn around the world’s perennial basket case, and flew home heartened that what was once a very rich nation might soon be again. Some weeks later I also visited Buenos Aires but left with a less upbeat take, not in regard to Milei’s intentions and actions so far but about his chances of pulling off such a Herculean labour given how generations of vote-buying patronage, Peronism and pandering have humbled the place.

Below is the edited transcript of Milei’s remarks this week to the Miliken Institute. His address can also be viewed via this video link


THE WEST is in danger. It is in danger because its leaders long ago moved away from the ideas of freedom. Ideas that made the West the most important civilizational achievement in the history of mankind. And instead of defending the ideas that generated the prosperity that everyone here enjoys, they listen to siren songs that lead inexorably to socialism, and consequently to poverty.

In some sense, we Argentines are prophets of an apocalyptic future, which we have already lived. All those discussions of today, based on supposedly well thought out desires of wanting to help our fellow man, based on an erroneous idea about the nature and function of the State, sustained by economic theories that have been long refuted by data and empirical evidence, we Argentines lived them 100 years ago, and unfortunately applying those ideas have led us to ruin.

Since the 19th century, and as a result of the industrial revolution, the GDP per capita not only increased but did so exponentially. In the last 150 years it multiplied by 15, generating an explosion of wealth that lifted 90 percent of the world’s population out of poverty, reaching the point that by the year 2020 only 5 percent of the global population lived in extreme poverty.

Far from being the cause of our problems, free enterprise capitalism as an economic system is the best tool we as a species have known to end hunger, poverty, and extreme poverty across the globe.

While the success of capitalism is easy to demonstrate, what is not so accessible to many is the counterfactual, where the systematic choice of a collectivist model leads. As I said before, perhaps the best example is the Argentinean example. Our entire history is a testimony of what can happen when the model of freedom is abandoned and replaced by collectivist experiments.

Since 1949 the monetary base in the United States has multiplied 16 times, while in Argentina the figure multiplied the astronomical number of 25,000 trillions times. Yeah, it is a real number. I’m not making it up. I repeat it, the monetary base expanded 25,000 trillion times. That is the level of disaster that politicians can produce if they are allowed to deviate from the basic principles of the market economy.

Those who lead the West have forgotten an elementary truth, and it is the moral responsibility of those of us who still remember it to defend and declaim it. And that inescapable truth is that economic freedom, in pursuit of individual interest, produces collective benefits, and therefore the entrepreneur who risks capital in pursuit of profit is a social benefactor.

Those who lead the major nations and organizations in the West do not give enough credit to this idea and look at the economy from a theoretical framework that believes the market is imperfect, that it produces failures, and that it requires state intervention to perfect it. The problem with this conception is that it justifies interventions that bring more problems than benefits and undermine economic growth.

The market, presupposing free competition and a system of free prices with clear signals, constitutes a mechanism for the extraction and transmission of information in which the greater the freedom the better is the performance. In other words, the free market is a process of discovery in which the capitalist finds, on the fly, the right course of action in a constant search for profit, and that translates into offering goods of better quality at the best prices.

Those who insist with interventionism not only impede the virtuous functioning of the market, but on top of that they congratulate themselves and exchange medals of social responsibility in pompous ceremonies, while they end up promoting an agenda of values that opens the door little by little to socialism and consequently to misery.

I do believe that the private sector has a very clear mandate of social responsibility, but it has nothing to do with being moralistic or guilty. The true social responsibility of the entrepreneur is a natural effect of the free functioning of his own economic activity. The mandate is to produce goods and services of better quality at the best price, linked to the maximization of profits. The social responsibility of the entrepreneur is to make money, and he can only do that by serving his fellow man with better quality goods at a better price.

Entrepreneurs are social benefactors, far from the criticisms usually made of them by spendthrift and profligate politicians.

Since free markets have existed we have crossed frontier after frontier. We have lifted the whole world out of poverty in 250 years. We have put men on the moon and now we are looking at Mars. And we have done it because of the ambition, creativity and optimism of men like you who partner with each other in pursuit of your happiness.

We must not lose faith in that primal ambition that we humans have as our guide. We are a species of explorers, of creators, of inventors, not bureaucrats. And it is the adventurous entrepreneur, not the desk bureaucrat, the kind of man who embodies in the present this timeless quality of the human spirit.

I look at Argentina with all the changes we are undertaking and I see that we are going in the opposite direction that the rest of the world, because while in the rest of the world the ideas of freedom are under siege, in Argentina there is a renewed faith in them.

While the West turns towards control and imposition, Argentina turns towards trusting its citizens in the exercise of their freedom. While the West turns towards deficit, bureaucracy and the intrusive State, Argentina turns towards austerity, towards savings, and to retire the State from the economic activity. While the West turns towards economic shamanism and unsustainable formats of heterodoxy that endanger the future of all, Argentina returns to the path of reason, to the ideas of common sense.

Our goal is to give back to the Argentines every peso we save, first by eliminating inflation and then, in the future, by reducing taxes as a consequence of economic growth. And we have as our north, to dismantle the tangle of regulations that Argentina has become, in order to free economic activity and unleash its productive force.

For us, the only task of the State is to protect the life, liberty and property of Argentines, so that each one can be the architect of his own destiny. This is our vision. It is a vision similar to the one held by all the prosperous countries of the West in the great moments of their history. The task of the State is not to put invented money in people’s pockets, but to ensure the macroeconomic and legal conditions so that the private sector can develop on its own.

I want to conclude these words by inviting everyone here, who are the heroes of the history of the progress of humanity… If you believe as I do in the superiority of free enterprise capitalism. If you believe as I do that the West is walking to a slow but sure retreat. If you believe as I do that merit, ambition, freedom and innovation and optimism are essential values of the human species that should be rewarded. I would like to invite you to bet on Argentina, to help me, you who are human progress personified, to make Argentina the new Rome of the 21st century.

It is you who can prove to the bureaucrats of the world that they are destroying the West, that the ideas of freedom are the only way to achieve prosperity.

Let us once again embrace the ideas of freedom with pride, let us be proud to be entrepreneurs, proud to be businessmen, because they are the true social benefactors, they are the ones who create wealth, they are the ones who have taken the world out of misery. To finish, I also ask you to accompany us, the Argentines, in this rebirth of the West.

7 thoughts on “The Gospel According to Javier Milei

  • Les Glover says:

    Well, I guess we’ll see what happens!

  • Ceres says:

    A mammoth task ahead but a man with a backbone who has not wasted time and begun demolishing the socialist policies he inherited. Bring him here because we’re well on the way to what Argentina became.

  • ianl says:

    We can hope that Milei manages to make a real difference.

    What has been clear for quite some months now, though, is that the MSM well including those in Aus have determined that no news about Milei will be published when considered detrimental to the globalism push. Not even what he may be trying to accomplish, and certainly not his wholesale reduction in bureaucracy. If he falls over due to entrenched corruption, this will be blasted as headlines for days (the failure, not the cause).

    This applies to Sky after 5pm as well as the ABC, Guardian, AFR, SMH, 7/9/10 etc. Not a skerrick of a mention. Censorship is alive and very well indeed. And those “independent” commentators – so fearless they are … The MSM is corrupt, as much by vanity as by money.

  • john mac says:

    This man is what Trump should aspire to be . Very eloquent too . I fear Dutton , if elected will be a massive disappointment, and no Milei’s coming up through the ranks. And yes , the media here are ignoring him .

  • lenton1 says:

    And we have the-voice-is-only-one-page Albo et al. The totality of our political and bureaucratic class are not worthy of one sentence of this articulate, learned, optimistic true leader. Yes Les, let’s “see what happens”, but I intuit from your few words that you, like far too many sheeple Aussies are somehow cynically willing Milei to fail, scared as we have become here of success, because success, unlike welfare, is darned hard work. Unless we all, or at least the true Aussie majority (forget the Greens, Teals etc) regain some of that old Aussie can-do spirit, even if it is considered a tad overly optimistic, then we will all go down the gurgler.

    Trouble is for far too long we have been captives of the utterly talentless bureaucratic types, those who are cosseted away from the harsh realities of life with guaranteed CPS Super and other undeserved entitlements. Unless we recapture the spirit of the “dreamers” who forged great companies like BHP, Qantas (oh how that once great icon has been ravaged by incompetence and greed!), Arnott’s, Hills etc etc. then our future will not be as prosperous as our past. None of these great companies nor others like them were the “brainchild” of any politician or bureaucrat, they were founded by courageous people who took calculated risks and delivered what they knew in their hearts (and heads) what the people wanted and needed. The government’s role then as it is now, is simply to provide the fertile tax and regulatory ground for them to exist and then get the hell out of their way and let them get on with it. But today the opposite is true. And hence the opposite outcome, failure, is a certainty. And that is why we need the Labs/Greens/Teals OUT, BUT, a Liberal party IN that is a LOT different to what we’ve suffered under since Turnbull.

    We know what success looks like, no need to reinvent the wheel just because the demented Greens (particularly their traitorous leader) screams so. But it also needs the cynics to stand aside, because like the aforementioned they also have nothing of value to contribute. To be positive, even in such troubled times, is not to be naïve, it is what courageous people do in the face of adversity, exactly what the impressive leader of Argentina is trying to do. If he fails it will be in part because of the smug “see I told you so” types who did nothing to help. In times of crisis as we are inevitably headed towards, survival needs the vast majority to pitch in even if success is not guaranteed, indeed, especially when success is not guaranteed. So please Les and others, rather than make unhelpful one-liners, how about value adding (so to speak) I’m sure you have plenty of good ideas to contribute, even if it’s just words of encouragement, for every risk taker needs encouragement along the way. That’s what the Spirit of Australia was once about.

  • Bernie Masters says:

    I also have just returned from a trip to Argentina. I was in Buenos Aires for 10 days over a 5 week period and, while there were lots of anti-Milei posters glued to the walls of buildings with calls to action and demands for no more sacking of public servants, street protests simply weren’t happening. My feeling (and that’s all it was – a feeling) was that the ordinary person in the street is unhappy with 180% annual inflation and relatively high unemployment, so they’re prepared to give Milei time to put his economic theories into practice and then judge him on his results.

  • en passant says:

    Here are some political slogans worth remembering:

    As Meatloaf sang: ‘Two outta three ain’t bad!

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