January 17, 2024 - 5:15pm

Western leaders have abandoned freedom for collectivism, Argentinian President Javier Milei has claimed.

In a special address to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Milei warned that “the leaders of the Western world have abandoned the model of freedom for different versions of what we call collectivism,” before adding that “collectivist experiments are never the solution to the problems that afflict the citizens of the world.”

Milei, a self-described “anarcho-capitalist” who won a surprise election victory in November last year, warned that collectivism was the cause of world poverty, and that free-market capitalism is the only solution. 

In an ominous message, the Argentinian President told the Davos audience that “the Western world is in danger”. “Those who are meant to defend the values of the West have been co-opted by a vision of the world that inexorably leads to socialism,” he said, “and therefore poverty.”

The meeting of the world’s business and political elite in Davos comes in the shadow of three ongoing or potential conflicts: in Ukraine, the Middle East and Taiwan. Among the other speakers scheduled are France’s President Emmanuel Macron, and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy. 

Milei, who has a background in economics, used his Davos platform to argue that capitalism was responsible for global wealth: while the world’s GDP per capita stagnated before the 19th century, it rose suddenly during the Industrial Revolution to a compound annual rate of 0.66%, before soaring from 2000-2023 to 3% per year.  

Later in the speech, the President railed against a “radical feminist agenda” that was encouraging greater state intervention, condemning government ministries for women, subsidies and price controls. 

He claimed that those advocating collectivism saw themselves as morally right when in fact “social justice is not just”, and that instead the free market was the only fair system. It is only ridiculous to think about the West as socialist, he said, if one thinks socialism is just an economic system. Milei went on to claim that socialism murdered “over 100 million people”.

Ending the speech without taking questions, he told the audience: “You are social benefactors. You’re heroes. You’re the creators of the most extraordinary period of prosperity we’ve ever seen. Thank you very much, and long live freedom, dammit.”