- author, Cecilia Barrier
- role, BBC News World
“I consider the nation as an enemy” are the words of Argentina’s elected president, Javier Millay, and his economic thinking is condensed into six words.
Milley, a self-identified libertarian, has called for deep cuts in public spending, deregulation of the economy, privatization of public companies, closing the central bank, cutting taxes, eliminating workers’ compensation for layoffs, and ultimately He won this Sunday’s election on a promise to obliterate the foundations of the nation. Argentina’s economic system.
All radical measures that signify a 180-degree turn in the politics and economy of a country in crisis.
Full dollarization of the economy was one of the proposals that aroused the greatest interest and controversy both domestically and internationally, and became a symbol for economists who called themselves “market anarchists” who abhorred the devaluation of the Argentine peso. “It’s not even worth excrement.”shouted from the rooftops about Argentina’s currency.
But where did Millay’s economic thinking come from?
He admits to being a follower of the Austrian school of economics, a school of thought whose founders are Austro-Hungarians. carl mengerlate 19th century.
Explain what the economic principles of the Austrian school are and how they influenced Millais’ thinking.
Despite their different nationalities, “Austrians” retain the nickname of the birthplace of the theory and believe that individual freedom is the basis of economic development.
In other words, Economic decisions should be made by individuals and not by states or other central authorities.
“Today begins the end of Argentina’s decadence. The omnipresent model of national poverty ends,” Millay said Sunday night as he celebrated his victory. sergio massaMinister of Economy and staunch defender of the nation.
Millay blames the state for the country’s economic crisis and the central bank for high inflation and the devaluation of the peso, and therefore proposes dollarizing the economy.
Although the Austrian School remained within a narrow circle of followers, it gained renewed interest in the 1970s. Friedrich Hayek won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1974.
Together with economist Gunnar Myrdal, they were recognized for their “pioneering work in the theory of money and economic change, and their incisive analysis of the interdependence of economic, social and institutional phenomena,” according to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It was announced that he had won the award.
Hayek was known for the works he published in the 1920s and 1930s, and “he was one of the few economists to warn of the possibility of a major economic crisis before the crash occurred in the fall of 1929.”
Hayek was one of the great proponents of the Austrian School (a disciple of Friedrich von Wieser and Ludwig von Mises) and was a harsh critic of socialism at a time when America and Russia were fighting over a polarized world. It is known for that.
Hayek visited Chile twice (1977 and 1981). On the trip where we first met Augusto Pinochetthe person who led the coup against Salvador AllendeIn an interview with the local media, he inadvertently revealed his support for the government.
“Personally, I prefer a liberal dictatorship to a democratic government that lacks liberalism.”, Hayek said.
What usually unites Austrians is their rejection of Marxist, Keynesian, monetarist or neoclassical economic theory, the idea that economics derives from philosophical logic and can therefore only develop theory, In other words, it is a commitment to sound economics based on basic logical principles.
His followers based on these grounds are fierce defenders of free markets and private property.
Who is Millay’s guru, Murray Rothbard?
One of the great supporters of the Austrian School was an American. Murray Rothbardis credited with coining the term anarcho-capitalism in the 1950s.
Anarcho-capitalism, which Millais extolled, was a philosophical, political, and economic vision born from the depths of the Austrian School that proposed the complete abolition of the state in favor of individual sovereignty through private property and free markets. are doing.
Rothbard made his views clear and founded the American Libertarian Party in 1971.
“True anarchism would be capitalism, and true capitalism would be anarchism,” Rothbard said in a 1972 interview published in The New Banner.
Twenty years later, after the end of the Cold War, Rothbard left the Libertarian Party and defined himself as a paleo-liberal.
Paleolibertarianism, developed by Rothbard and Lou Rockwell, is a libertarian stream that combines an economic vision with a conservative vision in the cultural realm.
An unprecedented political alliance is thus formed between economic liberals and American conservatives.is considered an electoral strategy devised by Rothbard and Rockwell to attract Republican voters.
The alliance supported paleoliberal Republican candidates Pat Buchanan The party’s primary campaign against George Bush, who ultimately won and won the 1992 presidential election.
Rothbard wrote an essay at the time. “Right-Wing Populism: The Strategy of an Old Movement,” While supporting the use of populism with the strategic purpose of expanding libertarian ideas, Rockwell also sought to support conservative values centered on the traditional family as the basic unit of a free society. Provided religious support.
For some researchers, paleoliberalism and its right-wing populist strategies are currently resurfacing in the hands of political leaders such as: Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro, Georgia Meloni, Each with their own style.
From that approach, Millais would be Argentina’s version of American paleoliberalism. victoria villaruelwhich integrates traditional Argentine right-wing ideas such as Catholic nationalism, rejection of abortion, and an approach to militarism.
How did Millay become an anarcho-capitalist?
During the first years of his career as an economics student at the University of Belgrano, and during his master’s degrees at the Institute for Economic and Social Development (IDES) and the University of Torcuato di Tella (UTDT), Millais was a classic liberal. That’s what I was thinking.
“At the time, I was a traditional neoclassical mathematical economist,” says analyst Pablo Stefanoni. In recent years he has devoted himself to the study of the libertarian movement in Argentina, and studied microeconomics at the University of Buenos Aires with Millais as his teacher. .
Millais discovered the Austrian School in 2013 while reading Ludwig von Mises, Fiedrich von Hayek, and Murray Rothbard.
He had a kind of instant conversion. In an interview published in the Chronicle in 2017, he said, “The conceptual clarity of the Austrians is at the highest level, which gives them a very strong advantage over other schools.”
“When I finished reading Rothbard, I said, ‘Everything I’ve taught you about market structure is wrong. It’s wrong!'”.
According to economist Juan Carlos de Pablo, Millais adopted the Austrian School “in an extreme way, more like a catechism than an idea.”
Neoclassical economists were left behind and anarcho-capitalism was born in Rothbard’s hands.
“Millay is taking far-right liberal ideas and applying them to Argentina, which is unprecedented in this country.”Stefanoni says.
The state plays an important role in Argentina, being one of the largest employers. Milley has said he would like to close some ministries and agencies as part of his idea of cutting spending. That’s why during his campaign he appeared with a chainsaw, a symbol of the cuts he wanted to make.
Admiration for Spanish economist Jesús Huerta de Soto
Among the great schools of economics, Austrians were and still are in the minority.
Today they have few followers in academia, even though they resurfaced with Hayek’s Nobel Prize in the 70s and with American paleoliberals in the 90s.
However, the successors of the Austrian School did not disappear.
One of them was the Spanish scholar Jesús Huerta de Soto, one of the people Millay added to his advisory group.
The president-elect is one of 52 scholars who paid tribute to Huerta de Soto, who recently received a master’s degree in economics from the Austrian School of the University of Rey Juan Carlos..
This tribute is a publication called. “Essay in praise of Jesus Huerta de Soto”Included here is Millay’s book “Capitalism, Socialism, and the Neoclassical Trap.”
“God is a liberal”Huerta de Soto writes in his essay “God and Anarcho-Capitalism.”
“The state is the embodiment of evil, the embodiment of the devil, the transmission belt of evil,” he argued in a document presented at a conference in Madrid in May 2017.
In a video published on TikTok, the academic is seen unexpectedly appearing on screen while Millais is speaking in a Zoom meeting.
Mirei exclaimed in excitement and surprise. “I can’t believe it, Professor Huerta de Soto is here! I can’t believe it!”.
“Teacher, teacher, thank you for coming here, thank you!”.
Huerta de Soto replies: “I couldn’t resist the temptation to come here, even if it was just for 60 seconds, to give you an academic hug from the other side of the Atlantic and show my respect for your efforts and work.” , we will continue to do this, unwaveringly, in our fight for freedom. You are an example to all.”
Currently lacking a majority in parliament and with resistance from institutions, trade unions and opposition parties, Millais wants to “dynamite” the central bank and is yet to decide on the rest of her proposals. I don’t know. Reduce the size of the Argentine state.
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