Something positive is happening in politics from, of all places, Argentina—the socialist utopia that has experienced systematic poverty for decades because of its socialism. But no more.
Argentine President Javier Milei’s speech at Davos is one of the most important given by a politician that I’ve ever read. If his ideas can catch on, they could be world-changing. An excerpt of the speech was published in the Wall Street Journal, which I’m summarizing at the end of this post.
In particular, I found his closing passage to be powerful, true, and extremely encouraging:
I would like to leave a message for all businesspeople… from around the world. Do not be intimidated, either by the political caste or by parasites who live off the state. Do not surrender to a political class that only wants to stay in power and retain its privileges. You are social benefactors. You are heroes. You are the creators of the most extraordinary period of prosperity we’ve ever seen. Let no one tell you that your ambition is immoral. If you make money, it’s because you offer a better product at a better price, thereby contributing to the general well-being. Do not surrender to the advance of the state. The state is not the solution. The state is the problem itself. You are true protagonists of this story, and rest assured that as from today, Argentina is your staunch, unconditional ally.
Unfortunately, one of the best lines was left out of the extracted speech, that capitalism “is not just the only possible system to end world poverty, but also that it is the only morally desirable system to achieve this.” Rand is famous for proclaiming a moral basis for capitalism. It seems that President Milei is a reader. That, to me, is so true and breathtaking. Enjoy!
A summary of Milei’s speech:
In a speech given at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Argentine President Javier Milei warned about the dangers of socialism and its impact on prosperity and freedom. He argued that the Western world’s shift towards collectivist ideas puts it at risk of poverty and reduced freedom.
Milei offered Argentina’s historical experience as evidence of his claims. He noted that, when Argentina adopted a model of freedom in the 19th century, it rapidly became a leading world power. Conversely, when Argentina embraced collectivism in the past century, the nation experienced significant impoverishment and fell in its global standing.
Milei criticized left-wing attacks on capitalism as immoral, while countering that the concept of social justice, as implemented through state coercion and taxation, is inherently unjust. Milei also criticized neo-Marxists for co-opting Western culture, media, universities, and international organizations in order to influence political and economic thought. He expressed concern over increasing state regulation and socialism in the West, which he believes will lead to reduced standards of living.
Milei proposed an updated definition of socialism, arguing that modern states no longer need to own the means of production in order to control individuals’ lives. Rather, he pointed out, modern states use tools such as printing money, incurring debt, distributing subsidies, and enforcing regulations to exert their control. Milei invited Western countries to return to a path of prosperity, economic freedom, limited government, and respect for private property—all of which are essential to economic growth.
In conclusion, Milei urged businesspeople not to surrender to the political classes that seek only to retain their own power and privileges. He proclaimed entrepreneurs to be heroes of prosperity and freedom, encouraging them to resist the advance of the state and declaring Argentina to be a staunch ally of those who support freedom and free enterprise.
Carl B. Barney
January 21, 2024