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    Milei gives the world a lesson on freedom
    • January 23, 2024

    It isn’t often that a speech on free market economics at the World Economic Forum goes viral. But that’s exactly what’s happened over the last week following an address by Argentine President Javier Milei to attendees in Davos, Switzerland.

    Milei shocked the world with his overwhelming electoral victory late last year. Milei’s free market, very-limited-government message resonated in the South American nation of Argentina, which has been in a state of economic crisis for many decades now thanks to the socialist governments which have ruled it.

    Milei vowed to shake up the status quo, slash the bloated government put in place over the years and deregulate vast areas of the economy.

    Milei’s aggressive rhetoric against socialists, collectivists and what he calls the “political caste” in Argentina has confused many news outlets into thinking he’s merely another right-wing populist like Donald Trump or Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil. But he’s clearly distinctive, as evidenced by his remarks in Davos.

    “Today I’m here to tell you that the Western world is in danger. And it is in danger because those who are supposed to have to defend the values of the West are co-opted by a vision of the world that inexorably leads to socialism and thereby to poverty,” he began his remarks. “Unfortunately, in recent decades, the main leaders of the Western world have abandoned the model of freedom for different versions of what we call collectivism.”

    He continued, “We’re here to tell you that collectivist experiments are never the solution to the problems that afflict the citizens of the world. Rather, they are the root cause.”

    Milei gave the audience a much-needed lesson in the history of the world to back up his point. From the year zero through the 19th century, global per capita GDP was stagnant. Only in the last two centuries, and especially in the last century, has the potential of humanity been unleashed to the betterment of the world.

    “We should remember that by the year 1800, about 95% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. And that figure dropped to 5% by the year 2020, prior to the pandemic. The conclusion is obvious,” he said. “Far from being the cause of our problems, free trade capitalism as an economic system is the only instrument we have to end hunger, poverty and extreme poverty across our planet. The empirical evidence is unquestionable.”

    Despite all of this, he notes, collectivists are always complaining about the state of the world. These come in many forms on the right and left, including progressives, socialists, fascists, nationalists and populists. If only they could pillage more from the productive and further centralize, there would be social justice, their thinking goes.

    But this is wrong and must be rejected, Milei explains. Collectivists on the left and right, whatever their motivations or promises, are the enemies of prosperity.

    “Economic freedom, limited government and unlimited respect for private property are essential elements for economic growth,” he explained. Straying from these core principles are what brought Argentina into the state it’s now in, a warning he hopes others learn from.

    “Do not surrender to the advance of the state. The state is not the solution. The state is the problem itself,” he warned.

    Viva Milei!

    ​ Orange County Register