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Argentina’s Seismic Shift: From Centre-Left Stronghold to Anarcho-Capitalism

In a strange turn, Argentina has voted in their first openly anarcho-capitalist leader, Javier Milei. Milei has become the president of Argentina after slipping in the first round of voting before going the distance and ending a 45-year-long leftist foothold in the South American nation. The anarcho-capitalist looks to - as one would expect - take the nation in a new direction, proclaiming that Argentina will be made great again through a gradual dissolvement of state powers and ultra-libertarian economic guiding principles.

The irony is not lost on me. Milei is an anarcho-capitalist who knows he can only achieve the dissolution of state power from the seat of government and with the help of its authority. He is an an-cap who hopes to dismantle the state from the inside.

Milei plans to achieve this through the mass privatisation of state infrastructure such as the railways. However, his plan to reduce public service spending and privatise services will undercut the quality of infrastructure. States can better manage public infrastructure because, unlike private enterprises, they ensure good practice and have a public-first model instead of a profit-first model. Transport systems can be the reliable, vital organs of transport infrastructure if they are all held to account by the state. There is only a standard if a legitimate regulatory body exists, and corporations can degrade infrastructure for marginal financial gain, leaving few alternatives for citizens to turn to. Privatisation leads to corporations seeking profit over the provision of good services; essentially, there is a broader scope for corner-cutting when working only toward a profitable business, especially if fewer (or no) regulations and barriers prevent the exploitation of customers, building codes, or safety standards. Fewer restrictions and working protections can also result in a prejudiced market, where people may be denied services and products based on their lifestyle choices, gender, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, etc. The irony of 'total freedom' means that people can restrict other people's freedom. Fairness is enforceable.

In Miliei's imagined world, you are at the behest of corporations, unelected profit-focused powers, at liberty to exploit the people for their labour and by their pocket. The incessant need for corporations to chase profit results in a proliferation of costs, creating "personal taxation" for citizens paying for services, even if the tax burden is lowered. Milei is a threat to working people but a beneficiary to stakeholders and corporate bodies that look for further influence and power over a population reliant on their services.

Miliei's hope of radically restructuring also has significant environmental implications. Those selling natural materials must now shift their focus to the demand of the local and the global production system. This increases the workload and resource output required, worsening workers' quality of life and increasing resource efficiency. The need to over-extract labour and over-produce resources to create a productive economy is unsustainable, a problem exacerbated by the desire to eliminate Argentina's environment ministry.

Under Milei, there will be fewer social safety nets or assurances. If you aren't able to be a productive labourer, you are punished, hurting those with barriers to work, such as disability or chronic illness. It is an archaic survival of the fittest mentality that should be left in the past. In this worldview, the family becomes the new safety net, an unstable safety net with no guarantee of catching you if you have no relationship with them. You are punished if you are not a model individual. Milei wants to reduce welfare massively. Welfare is necessary as there needs to be a universal safety net. Otherwise, people may fall out of society and not participate. People need to be able to uplift themselves through access to education, housing, healthcare and other vital services.

Milei wants to enter Argentina into the international marketplace to become a trading nation specialising in resource extraction. His approach will devalue materials, pumping them into an oversaturated market. He imagines that nations will freely compete with others to lower the price of resources, which will only drop their worth until they are either of little value or the resource use has brought about catastrophic environmental outcomes. It's a race to the bottom.

There are also further implications for labourers' pay if one is relying on the market dynamics to generate profitability. Transnational Corporations, looking out, find countries that can feasibly offer workers "the lowest wages." It is ultimately a neo-liberal practice even if Milei initiates a move to anarcho-capitalism in Argentina. Many jobs are spurious opportunities that have become part of a larger gig economy that is entirely results-based, affording workers little rights. If markets require hastier delivery times to core nations with a massive consumer population, that would have enormous implications for the workers of Argentina, who would have to work harder to meet demand but would have no opportunity to guarantee their own safety, protections or better wages.

Argentina's new direction will be positive for the business elite and be incredibly difficult for workers in the country. If dissolving a state's vast regulating body is the plan, then its replacement is easily controlled by those with the most power and wealth — those who own the most. What Milei can achieve as an anarcho-capitalist in government remains to be seen. One thing is for sure: if he achieves his dream, Argentina will be sacrificed and find only a massive disintegration of the nation's social fabric, all in the name of competition.

Image: Alarming_Sea_4232/via Reddit

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