Editors at National Review Online praise a recent speech at the annual gathering of elites in Davos.

If there was something that we did not have on our bingo card for 2024, it was that the standout speech in Davos would be an encomium to (very) free markets, free enterprise, and the entrepreneur as hero. If there was something else missing from that card, it was that such a speech would be delivered by the president of Argentina. As a result of heavy-handed and improvident state intervention in the economy for the better part of a century, Argentina has become a byword for economic decline. In 1900, it was one of the richest countries in the world. That was then.

Long-standing economic decline is marked by recurrent economic crises — from debt defaults to bouts of severe inflation — when the chronic becomes acute. By 2023, as inflation soared (it was around 160 percent at the time of the presidential election in November), Argentina was, again, running out of money. For many Argentines, this was, finally, enough: They elected Javier Milei, a self-described “anarcho-capitalist” economist, to the presidency by a comfortable majority. Even if this was a vote fueled more by a rejection of the old regime — and the deeply eccentric Milei’s oddball charisma — than by any sudden enthusiasm for anarcho-capitalism, his victory may represent the best chance that resource-rich Argentina has had to take advantage of its great potential for a long, long time. Whether it will succeed in doing so has yet to be seen. The new president has a hard fight ahead of him.

In his speech, Milei showed clear signs of the Manichean dogmatism of a true believer, not a plus (even “neoclassical liberalism” was given a battering), but that should matter less than the truth of his underlying message, sharpened by his experience in Argentina, that the pathway to prosperity does not lie through the corridors of government.