Javier Milei and the Ramifications of His Victory

Jeb Allen ’27 discusses the recent election of Argentinian President Javier Milei, his ideas and policies, and the great potential inherent in his presidency.

On Nov. 19, 2023, humanity witnessed a historic moment as a nation elected a libertarian head of state — the first in the existence of humanity. Javier Milei, who might be the most interesting politician of all time, was elected as a right-wing populist and self-proclaimed “anarcho-capitalist” to combat unfathomable economic despair. To scratch the surface, America’s inflation rate is currently at 3.1 percent and peaked under the Biden administration at 9.1 percent, while Argentina’s inflation rate is 185 percent. In response, Argentina elected Milei by a landslide margin of 11 percent.

While I will dive into the ramifications of this election, it is essential to acknowledge that Argentina is taking extreme measures to solve extreme problems. While such measures might not be necessary for America’s economy, any country plagued with inflation at 185 percent needs a complete overhaul of its system to get back on track. Like America in 2016, Argentina’s citizens were so frustrated with the status quo that they were willing to elect a populist with scant government experience who promised to overhaul the system. While Trump mainly focused on border security, returning manufacturing jobs to America, and uprooting corruption, Milei has one main goal: cut unnecessary government spending. Milei is a highly vocal dissident of the socialist measures implemented in Argentina and vows to uproot them all. Milei stated, “Never embrace the ideals of socialism. Never allow yourself to be seduced by the siren song of social justice. Don’t get caught up in that terrible concept that where there is a need, there is a right.”

Milei’s Charisma

Outside of politics, Milei has gained attention for his wild hair, personal life, and populist rhetoric. Milei, a man of many names, has been called “el loco” (the crazy one), “the lion,” and “the wig.” Milei’s iconic shaggy hair and sideburns have made their way onto shirts, bumper stickers, and much more, which certainly adds to his madman persona that will rip the Argentinian socialist government to shreds. The lion title has derived from Milei’s campaign slogan, “I Didn’t Come Here To Guide Lambs, But To Awaken Lions.” Not only do I believe this is one of the most inspiring slogans we have seen from a head-of-state in decades for the common man, but I also believe that the message is desperately needed in America, where our nation is spoon-fed information by our corrupt media outlets without seeing an issue. We as a country are so astray that more young Americans care about TikTok or a football game, where, in the grand scheme of things, both are pointless, than protecting their own civil rights. Counter to the trend observed throughout much of the 20th century, America’s average IQ is decreasing, and I’m certain the recent dependency to social media is much to blame. However, social media outlets evidently generate too much revenue for the government to intervene. Corporate lobbying and the foreign designed zombification of America have devastated our country to the core to serve the wealthy’s interests, so an American leader emphasizing the return to critical and independent thinking could quite literally change the trajectory of humanity.

Secondly, Milei’s personal life raises an eyebrow for many, but I think the best politicians are not career bureaucrats who have spent their lives kissing ass to climb the ladder, but rather citizens from various walks of life. To add to the public perception of having humble beginnings, Milei’s mother was a housewife, and his father was a bus driver. During his late teenage years, Milei sang for the cover band “Everest” and was a goaltender for the Chacarita Juniors. Milei’s humble beginnings and irregular life naturally made people interested in him.

Regarding his academic career, Milei is a graduate in economics from the University of Belgrano, has written 50 academic papers, was an economics professor, and has held numerous jobs within finance and economics. He is a well-versed economic mind who believes he can drastically cut government spending to save Argentina’s economy. The approach Milei is employing is referred to as "shock therapy," involving the implementation of drastic economic reforms to liberalize a state-controlled or mixed economy into a free-market economy. Ideally, this method subjects a state to a brief period of economic hardship, followed by growth, ultimately steering the economy back on track. Milei’s extreme measures are expected to bring initial challenges for Argentinians, but the hope is that Argentina will eventually return to normalcy. On top of the economic desperation facing the Argentinian state, Milei encounters criticism questioning his qualifications in comparison to his former opponent, Sergio Massa, who served as Argentina’s Minister of Economy from 2022 to 2023. Comically, while the election cycle was almost solely focused on the recent government’s failures to combat inflation, which Massa was in charge of from 2022 to 2023, Massa was still widely endorsed by the media and politicians. While politicians who have not had previous government experience usually receive criticism for a lack of experience, heads-of-state with a background in economics or business, such as Trump prior to the pandemic, have proven to be fairly economically successful.

Because of their flamboyant personalities and populist rhetoric, Milei and Trump are often compared to each other. While some comparisons are fair, their approach to the government’s role and tangible actions in office are nothing alike. The main comparison drawn between Milei and Trump is their flamboyant populist rhetoric. Milei called the Argentinian-born Pope a “filthy leftist,” has insulted reporters critical of him including calling one a “burro” (translating to “donkey,” but used as slang for “ignorant”), and regularly wields a chainsaw at rallies to promote to “slashing the government.” Milei certainly understands the people’s concerns and their anger toward the incompetence of the Argentinian government and uses strong language to rally pissed-off constituents to vote for him, much like Trump. On Jan. 23, 2024, Dean Phillips, a challenger to Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination, stated, “all of them [Trump supporters] are so frustrated that they feel like no one is listening to them, besides Donald Trump.” Regardless of your stance on Trump, it is undeniable that Trump’s supporters feel he is the only mainstream politician listening to their cries, and Phillips and the Democratic Party know that. Contrary to Trump, Milei went into office immediately and began slashing the size of the government. Excluding the year 2020 due to the unprecedented pandemic, federal government spending under Trump saw an increase from $4.90 trillion to $5.31 trillion annually from 2016 to 2019. In addition to the federal budget, the national debt surged from $19.573 trillion in 2016 to $22.719 trillion in 2019 under Trump. While their extravagant personalities may draw similarities, fiscally, Milei is proving to be much more effective at decreasing the size of the government than Trump. Milei has done an excellent job creating a madman persona that is ready to slash and burn the system that has repeatedly let down its people.

Milei’s Most Radical Economic Ideas

While Milei has many future plans for the country, his accomplishments are already plentiful. He has already fired 5,000 government employees he deemed unnecessary, eliminated 12 of the 21 executive cabinet posts, and eliminated over 300 rules regulating the economy. While Milei is immediately slashing the size of the government and eliminating jobs he sees as unnecessary for Argentine citizens, his coming economic reforms will change the Argentinian economy forever. One of Milei’s biggest campaign promises was to allow the competition of foreign currencies. Due to the instability of the Argentinian peso, Milei has begun to allow for the use of foreign currencies or commodities to exchange goods in Argentina. The newly allowed forms of currency range anywhere from bitcoin to liters of milk. Due to the influx in the value of the Argentinian peso, Milei has permitted two consenting parties to make purchases using almost any method imaginable. While this is a big difference, his attempt to abandon the central bank makes permitting foreign currencies look like chump policy. While Milei has not taken action yet, he claims shutting down Argentina’s national bank is a “non-negotiable.” Nearly every country in the world has a national bank to promote a national currency and lend the government money. Such a measure would put Argentina on a short list with ten other countries: Andorra, Isle of Man, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Monaco, Nauru, Palau, Panama, and Tuvalu. While I can’t adequately explain the economic impact the lack of a national bank would have on Argentina, I can tell you this measure would be highly radical considering the rarity of a nation lacking one. Lastly, Milei is a firm believer in allowing a market for the sale of human organs for transplants. A pure libertarian, such as Milei, believes that your body is the first piece of property you receive and the most important one you will ever own. Therefore, you should have complete bodily autonomy, and the government has no right to intervene. In fact, the government having any control over your body is a pretty radical stance. Once you lose the ability to govern your body, you don’t have many freedoms at all. The main counterargument for a market for the sale of human organs is that it would disproportionately affect the poor, placing a price on life for the rich. More impoverished individuals would likely end up selling organs to make ends meet, while wealthier individuals would never need to sell an organ out of financial hardship. While this is a valid concern, the number of people who could easily benefit from an open market might be worth exploring. Eighty-three percent of the people waiting on the national transplant waiting list need a kidney, and almost all humans are born with two. Due to the lack of kidneys being donated, roughly 12 people die daily without the opportunity to receive a transplant. An open market for the sale of organs would drastically improve conditions as well. Currently, most organ harvesting occurs in sketchy, underground clinics or areas with little government intervention. Increased government oversight via regulatory health standards on the sphere would force more sterile conditions with safer doctors to manage transplant procedures. Like my stance on many of Milei’s radical libertarian policies, I’m not sure the outcome would be better, but I am excited to explore the possibility in case. Milei plans to restore complete authority to Argentinians, no matter how uncommon his policies are on a global scale, and the market for the sale of human organs is no exception.

Why Americans Should Open Our Minds to the Idea of Voting Libertarian

Milei’s election should send a shocking message worldwide: A libertarian head-of-state election victory is possible. As a person who desperately longs for an American Democratic Party that had better solutions to the border crisis, crime, homelessness, and censorship, but also wishes Donald Trump hadn’t hijacked the American Republican Party to the extent that it seems any unity within the Republican Party alone is unrealistic, I look to the other parties as a beacon of hope. The Libertarian Party emphasizes the importance of protecting our constitutional rights, reducing government spending, and protecting freedom of speech; in other words, the Libertarian Party focuses on the founding ideals that created a government with the potential to become the fairest governing body the earth has ever seen. Indeed, it must be acknowledged that our government has not lived up to the levels of fairness imagined by many. For the life of me, though, I don’t understand how any of these issues are contentious. Protecting our constitutional rights, which are slowly being dismantled through legislation, is critical to remain free and resist government surveillance. As for freedom of speech, it seems in today’s hyper-sensitive world, more Americans are worried about getting their feelings hurt rather than seriously considering the ramifications of censoring the free flow of information. Protecting all speech ensures we can criticize opposing policies, but more importantly, it gives us the power to challenge authority. The media polarizes us so much that we forget the real enemy: the government. Historically, Americans have taken pride in revolution, but we have recently lost this passion for some reason. Thomas Jefferson once stated, “And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?” Now, those who question the government and their intentions are widely perceived as oversuspicious. My intuition is because of the unfathomable amounts of money tech, oil, and pharma companies can generate now; they are single-handedly funding American media to not report on the issues that truly affect us all, and without a common enemy, we fight ourselves instead. Due to the corruption so deeply embedded in the two-party system we currently have, I think true change must come from a third-party candidate. The Libertarian Party is currently doing the best job remaining focused on issues that help Americans and promote truth rather than winning a roast battle or culture war.

For this reason, we should open our minds as Americans to voting for a third party. We have seen it is possible, and in a world where 55.6 percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Joe Biden and 53.2 percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Donald Trump, maybe America can follow in Argentina’s footsteps and say screw the system. In an unprecedented year such as 2024, we can put in a candidate such as RFK Jr. who cares more about protecting our freedom of speech, upholding truth, and fighting government and big pharma, tech, and media corruption, than a culture war or “roasting” their political enemy.

To wrap it up, Milei’s unprecedented victory should be exhilarating for mankind. Through Milei and Argentina, we get to observe how an unused theoretical economic concept will counter a country struggling with historic inflation. In addition, we are provided with another example of how effective populism can mobilize citizens to vote for “one of them” rather than another establishment politician. Americans should use this victory to open up to the idea of a third-party candidate rather than “the lesser of two evils,” who both are over 77 years old and have unfavorability ratings of over 52 percent. It is a widely accepted consensus that we all wish there were a young president who would pass legislation to help the people rather than help their donors; so, as a country, let’s say screw the status quo and take action, rather than continue a never-ending loop of complaining about the two-party system. I believe Milei to be one of the most fascinating politicians of modern history, due to his policies and background, and encourage everyone to read more about him. At a minimum, even if you don’t agree with his policies, as most are comparatively radical to the global criterion, any article you read about him is guaranteed to be entertaining. I will close with Milei’s presidential slogan that he signed in the inaugural book upon his victory: VIVA LA LIBERTAD CARAJO! (Long live f*cking freedom!)