Editor: Colin Wu
On November 19, Javier Milei, a candidate from Argentina’s far-right electoral alliance “Liberty Advances Party” and a member of the Chamber of Deputies, was elected president. His extreme views include blowing up the Central Bank of Argentina and complete dollarization. He is also a supporter of Bitcoin, emphasizing that Bitcoin returns funds to their original creators. This article introduces his past experiences and main viewpoints.
Image source: aljazeera
Javier Milei was born in 1972 in Palermo, Buenos Aires. His mother was a homemaker and his father was a bus driver before becoming a businessman in the public transport sector. He had a strained relationship with his parents, stating that they abused and verbally insulted him, leading to at least a decade of no contact with them, effectively cutting ties and considering them dead. During his 2021 campaign for the Chamber of Deputies, he chose to reconcile with his parents.
Before 1989, Milei was a goalkeeper for the youth team of Club Atlético Vélez Sarsfield. However, due to hyperinflation during the tenure of Economy Minister José Os as in Argentina, he decided at the age of 18 to stop pursuing football and instead studied economics, aiming to make a living from it. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Universidad de Belgrano and two Master’s degrees from Instituto de Desarrollo Económico y Social and Universidad Torcuato di Tella.
He served as the chief economist at Máxima AFJP, a private pension company, and at Estudio Broda, a financial consulting firm, as well as a government advisor at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. He was also a senior economist at HSBC Bank Argentina. He has been the chief economist for various national and international public institutions. Since 2012, Milei has led the economic research department of the national think tank Fundación Acordar. He is also a member of B20, the International Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Policy Group (an advisor to the G20), and the World Economic Forum. Additionally, he has been a university professor for over twenty years, teaching courses in macroeconomics, economic growth, microeconomics, and mathematics for economists.
In 2020, Milei joined the Progressive Freedom Party (Avanza Libertad) and ran for the Argentine Chamber of Deputies in 2021, promising not to support any tax increases or new taxes, and also established the Liberty Advances Party. He frequently promoted himself on television, radio, and YouTube, gaining support from many young people. During his time as a deputy, Milei held monthly raffles, giving his entire parliamentary salary to the winners, open to anyone.
Image source: ilpost
In 2023, Milei ran for president, proposing to allow people to freely buy firearms and human organs, promising to repeal the Voluntary Termination of Pregnancy Act, and advocating for the criminal punishment of abortion. In the August 2023 presidential primaries, Milei received 30% of the votes, becoming the first far-right candidate to win a primary since Argentina’s elections began in 1916. In the second round of voting held on November 19, Milei defeated his opponents and was elected the new president of Argentina.
In economic issues, Milei is a staunch supporter of the Austrian School, once stating, “Beasts who support Keynesian economics are everywhere.” He considers Argentina a tax hell and advocates for rapid cuts in government spending to balance the budget. He frequently appears on television criticizing the excessive spending and financial mismanagement of Mauricio Macri’s government, the former president of Argentina. He advocates for the abolition of the Central Bank of Argentina, monetary substitution (allowing the use of the US dollar within Argentina), a return to the gold standard, and metallism.
However, his use of mathematical formulas and charts in his works to explain his views has also been criticized by Austrian School economists (who view economics as a social science), claiming his concepts are confused and his formulas incorrect. In April 2023, economist Constantino Hevia from Universidad Torcuato di Tella stated: “If you analyze it a bit, you realize that the public greatly overestimates Milei’s understanding of economics… Milei always shouts concepts he doesn’t understand himself, misleading the public who follow him. In fact, there are many concepts Milei doesn’t understand at all, as you can tell from his notes.” He concluded: “Milei’s lack of mathematical skills, coupled with his enormous arrogance, often leads to numerous mistakes in his statements.”
Politically, Milei is seen as far-right, right-wing populist, extremely conservative, and right-wing libertarian, though he considers himself a minarchist or classical liberal, advocating for anarcho-capitalism. In foreign policy, he is close to the United States and Israel, advocating for a struggle against socialistsand centralists, refusing to do business with socialists.
Milei is a supporter of Bitcoin, stating that it returns funds to their original creators and serves as a tool against government control and central bank policies. He openly supports the use of cryptocurrencies as a means for ordinary Argentinians to escape from the inflation of the peso. He also praises the limited supply of Bitcoin, considering it a safer alternative to gold or silver. (Note: Argentina’s cumulative inflation rate from January to September 2023 was 103.2%, with the past 12 months reaching 138.3%, and the full-year cumulative inflation rate for 2022 was 94.8%).
Additionally, in December 2021, he promoted a cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme called Coinx through his Instagram account, stating, “They are completely changing the way of investing, to help Argentinians cope with inflation.” Later, the national regulatory authority, the National Securities Commission (CNV), ordered the cessation of Coinx’s operations, and some investors sought compensation from Milei and filed lawsuits against him.
Image source: instagram
Nevertheless, his policy focus as president is not closely related to cryptocurrencies, focusing more on the complete liberalization of central banking, finance, foreign affairs, and other sectors. Considering Milei’s economic liberalism, it is unlikely that he would use state power to intervene in and promote the adoption of cryptocurrencies after becoming president.