In Argentina, Enthusiasm Over Milei’s Reforms Could Be Premature

In Argentina, Enthusiasm Over Milei’s Reforms Could Be Premature
President Javier Milei arrives to address lawmakers during the opening legislative session of Congress, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 1, 2024 (AP photo by Natacha Pisarenko).

BUENOS AIRES—Something unfamiliar is spreading through Argentina these days, alongside dengue and rumors about Lionel Messi’s health ahead of the summertime Copa America: optimism.

Typically, Argentina is where optimism goes to die. There are booms as well as busts, but over the past decade or so, its topsy-turvy economy has been mostly sluggish and often careening toward crisis. The country has defaulted on its debt nine times. Things were particularly grim in the runup to last year’s presidential election. The economy contracted in 2023, and inflation exceeded 200 percent. Surveys revealed profound anxiety over the future.

In an act of desperation that many Argentines described as a salto al vacio, or a jump into the void, voters elected a political outsider who campaigned with a chainsaw to symbolize his promise to cut government spending and dismantle the state. Given the dire straits, Javier Milei’s election victory was not all that surprising. What was unexpected is what happened next: He has kept his dramatic promises and so far has maintained public support as well.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.