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Milei's Argentina | Philip Bagus

Milei's Argentina | Philip Bagus

Jan 17, 2024
Saifedean Ammous

Milei's Argentina | Philip Bagus

Key Takeaways

The Bitcoin Standard podcast hosted Professor Philip Bagus, author of "In Defense of Deflation," to discuss the election of Javier Milei as the President of Argentina. Milei, a Rothbard and Mises-quoting libertarian, has defied political conventions by advocating for economic freedom and a dismantling of the state. Despite this approach traditionally being seen as a recipe for political failure, Milei’s victory has been both shocking and encouraging for libertarians and Austrian economists.

Milei, previously a professor of neoclassical economics, converted to Austrian economics after encountering the work of Professor Jesús Huerta de Soto. He considers himself a disciple of de Soto and has even contributed to a festschrift in his honor. Milei's political strategy has involved reaching the masses through media to change public opinion on state and socialist ideologies. Although not originally a politician, he entered the political arena to combat the censorship he faced and to more effectively challenge statist ideas.

As president, Milei faces challenges, including a lack of majority in parliament and opposition from entrenched socialist movements in Argentina. Nevertheless, he has begun implementing decrees for deregulation, including promoting contractual freedom over state legislation. His goal is to achieve a cultural and political shift towards libertarianism, seeking to reduce the size of the Argentine state and inspire others.

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Best Quotes

  • "Whether you're a student, a professional, or a retiree, you are making economic decisions every day, and this course will arm you with the wisdom of centuries of economists to improve your economic decision making."
  • "Milei is truly libertarian. He says he is an anarcho-capitalist in philosophy... but in the short run, he thinks that's not practically possible."
  • "You cannot only fight [the cultural war] in lecture halls or through books or lectures or conferences. You have to reach the masses to change how the masses think."
  • "He's trying to leverage the fact that he got most votes ever in an Argentine presidential election, saying that the people are behind me."


The election of Javier Milei as the President of Argentina represents a significant moment for the promotion of libertarian and Austrian economic principles on a global stage. Despite the practical challenges he faces, including the need for compromises and the potential influence of international bodies like the IMF, Milei's presidency offers a unique opportunity to observe the real-world application of libertarian ideas within a significant economy. His success or failure could have profound implications for the libertarian movement and the perception of Austrian economics worldwide. As the world watches, Milei's unconventional approach may either validate the wisdom of centuries of economic thought or serve as a cautionary tale against the perils of political idealism.


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