Argentina’s President Javier Milei delivers a speech at the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos on January 17, 2024. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)
Fabrice Coffrini | Afp | Getty Images
Argentina’s President Javier Milei on Wednesday called on business and political leaders at Davos to reject socialism and instead embrace “free enterprise capitalism” to bring an end to world poverty.
“Today, I’m here to tell you that the Western world is in danger,” Milei said in a special address at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, according to a translation.
“And it is in danger because those who are supposed to have to defend the values of the West are co-opted by a vision of the world that inexorably leads to socialism, and thereby to poverty,” he added.
Milei’s trip to Davos marks his first overseas tour since taking office last month.
The right-wing leader, a self-described “anarcho capitalist” often compared to former U.S. President Donald Trump, reportedly said en route to Switzerland that he was attending the meeting to advocate for freedom.
Traveling via commercial jet to the Swiss resort town, Milei criticized Davos for what he perceived to be its “socialist agenda, which will only bring misery to the world,” Reuters reported Tuesday.
“Rebuilding Trust” is the overarching theme of the annual WEF meeting. WEF says this year’s program embodies a “back to basics” spirit of open and constructive dialogue between policymakers, business leaders and civil society.
WEF founder Klaus Schwab introduced Milei to the stage in Davos by saying his “more radical methods” had “introduced a new spirit to Argentina.”
“The main leaders of the Western world have abandoned the model of freedom for different versions of what we call collectivism. We’re here to tell you that collectivist experiments are never the solution to the problems that afflict the citizens of the world — rather they are the root cause,” Milei said.
“Do believe me, no-one [is] better placed than us Argentines to testify to these two points,” he added.
For Milei, the challenges facing his presidency are significant — particularly given that Latin America’s third-largest economy is once again in the grip of a profound crisis.
Milei has said there is no alternative to his proposed “shock therapy” to remedy the situation. He has proposed to dollarize the economy, abolish the country’s central bank and privatize the pension system.