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The Economist Proclaims Love for Neoliberalism, but That Argentina’s Milei Won’t Do as President

Sept. 8, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—The Economist is getting picky about which neoliberal it thinks would be the best choice to most effectively destroy Argentina, when people go to the polls on Oct. 22. In its Sept. 7 article entitled “Can Radical Libertarianism Save Argentina?” the City of London weekly rag reports that, after a three-hour interview with self-proclaimed “anarcho-capitalist” Javier Milei, the extremist devotee of the Austrian School of economics who came in first in the Aug. 13 primaries, it has concluded that he’s not the right man for the job.

Does London fear that if elected, Milei might become a Frankenstein’s monster who couldn’t be controlled? Of course The Economist wants to see a return to real liberalism in “bloated statist Argentina,” which it describes as a place of “venal and incompetent politicians” plagued by “sclerotic state companies.” But the problem with Milei is that he is too “intemperate, rash and outlandish” and could become an authoritarian, if things don’t go his way. So, it asserts, “little about Mr. Milei suggests he is the savior Argentina needs.” The article proceeds with various explanations as to why Milei’s proposed dollarization won’t work—the country, in fact, has no dollars; why getting rid of the central bank isn’t feasible, and that, even if dollarization could stop the state from printing money, it wouldn’t “automatically restrain Argentina’s profligate fiscal policy.”

The Economist doesn’t mention that some of Milei’s top advisers have begun to walk back his plans for dollarization, shutting down the central bank, and ending all social welfare programs, apparently trying to give him a more “moderate” face. But, warning that Argentina is “close to default,” the article cautions that the next President will have to go to the IMF “cap in hand” and Milei “plainly lacks the right temperament” for “the kind of delicate, diplomatic task” negotiating with the IMF would require.

Milei’s support for Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro and for Donald Trump’s “anti-democratic tactics” are problematic, The Economist considers, and even points to the “troubling” fact that his running mate, Victoria Villarruel, is a former defender of soldiers accused of atrocities during the 1976-83 military dictatorship, and “plays up the crimes of left-wing guerrillas who fought the junta, rather than the bloodier acts of the junta itself.” That’s pretty rich coming from the City of London, whose bankers never shed a tear over the atrocities carried out by the military junta, whose Finance Minister José Martínez de Hoz, was their Eton-bred man, and whose fascist economic policies were enforced by the junta’s brutal repression.

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