Voters in Argentina have elected a libertarian as president for the first time in their history. On Sunday, Argentina had its second round of voting, and Javier Milei received 55.69% of the vote against the Peronist Sergio Massa's 44.31%. In a country that suffers 143% annual inflation and a poverty rate hovering around 43%, Milei has a long and difficult road ahead.
Milei's win marks the first time in 40 years that someone outside Argentina's two largest parties was elected. La Libertad Avanza, Milei's 3-year-old political party, finally broke through the entrenched and archaic political apparatus. In a tweet back in June, Milei stated that Argentina was choosing between the old politics and the new ideas. During his presidential campaign, Milei pledged to tackle Argentina's inflationary unhealthy economy by dollarizing the peso and minimizing government spending.
In a country where only 6 million people work in the private sector and pay taxes to maintain 20 million public workers and pensioners, Milei has a long way to go. How can he steer the ship that is barely staying afloat? His plan is to minimize state regulations and trade barriers to let economic growth flourish. He has also raised closing the central bank, ending currency controls in the economy, and reversing the irresponsible fiscal policy and government spending of the past few years.
This morning, Argentina now has new incoming leadership and will hopefully see Javier Milei's classical liberal economic ideas play out and bear fruit. Argentina must shift from collectivist to individualist ideals. They must appreciate and celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit and create a society that unleashes and harnesses innovation. If the people of Argentina embrace these ideals and commit to changing the status quo, they will have a bright future. As Leonard Read wrote in his classic essay I, Pencil:
Leave all creative energies uninhibited. Merely organize society to act inharmony with this lesson. Let society's legal apparatus remove all obstacles the best it can. Permit these creative know-hows freely to flow. Have faith that free men and women will respond to the Invisible Hand.