President Javier Milei has issued a warning at Davos, saying “collectivist experiments” will lead to poverty
One month on from taking office as Argentina’s new president, self-described “anarcho-capitalist” Javier Milei has urged Western leaders to steer clear of the socialist path he claims led his country into an economic crisis and surging poverty.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum on Wednesday in Davos, Switzerland, Milei warned that “the Western world is in danger” because it’s tilting toward collectivism. “It is endangered because those who are supposed 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 said.
Argentinians know well the consequences of socialist policies because decades of left-wing rule created the deepest economic disaster in the country’s history, Milei said. Around 40% of the South American nation’s citizens live in poverty, while the inflation rate exceeds 200% annually. The new president has vowed to restore prosperity through reforms and austerity measures that will make the economic pain even worse in the near term.
“We have lived through this,” Milei told the Davos audience. “We have been through this because ever since we decided to abandon the model of freedom that had made us rich, we have been caught up in a downward spiral, as part of which we are poorer and poorer day by day.”
Western leaders are similarly abandoning the model of freedom “for different versions of what we call collectivism,” Milei claimed. “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.”
Argentina, which boasts abundant natural resources, was among the world’s richest nations in the first half of the 20th century, giving rise to the then-common phrase, “rich as an Argentine.” Milei said the country’s subsequent economic downfall demonstrated the inevitable result of socialism.
“No matter how rich you may be, or how much you may have in terms of natural resources, or how skilled your population may be or educated, or how many bars of gold you may have in the central bank, if measures are adopted that hinder the free functioning of markets – free competition, free price systems – if you hinder trade, if you attack private property, the only possible fate is poverty,” he said.
Most Western countries today have adopted “collectivist variants,” all of which are contrary to the model that “led humanity to the most spectacular progress in its history,” Milei argued. He urged businesspeople not to be intimidated by “the political caste or by parasites who live off the state.”
Milei said he came to Davos to invite Western nations to “get back on the path of prosperity, economic freedom, limited government and unlimited respect of private property.” He added that private-sector wealth creators mustn’t surrender to statism. “The state is the problem itself. You are the true protagonists of this story, and rest assured that as from today, Argentina is your staunch, unconditional ally.”