Are politicians brave enough for daredevil economics?

New research shows rapid liberalisation offers growth, along with initial pain

A politician skateboarding along a steep line graph
image: alberto miranda

At first glance, Argentina faces a stark choice in the second round of its presidential election on November 19th. Sergio Massa, the current finance minister whose government is presiding over inflation of 138% and a bizarre system of various official exchange rates, is facing Javier Milei. Mr Milei is a libertarian who says he wants to tear down the system, borrowing ideas from Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and other free-market economists.

Yet whoever wins, reformist Argentines doubt the country will truly change. In all likelihood, Mr Massa would double down on money-printing; he has little interest in dismantling the system of patronage that makes sustained growth impossible. Mr Milei, by contrast, would have little support in Congress. He has no experience of implementing policy. Many of the market-oriented economists sympathetic to Mr Milei, and even those who advise him, have surprisingly vague ideas about what Argentina needs to do to improve its economy. The country feels stuck.