The Ship's Log: Argentina’s Javier Milei: come for the hair, stay for the organ trafficking
The libertarian economist has his eye on the presidency next year, but for some unfathomable reason, polls reacted badly to him stanning the sale of human organs
I first heard the name “Javier Milei” in almost the same terms I heard “Donald Trump”. In smug op eds and derisive tweets, it felt like Argentina’s ultra-libertarian congressional candidate, as he was at the time, served mainly as a media spectacle: look at the clowns getting into politics nowadays!
But ridicule quickly faded into shock: first, Milei was elected to the lower house of congress as a deputy in December 2021, advocating for cutting the state, slashing taxes, and relying on commerce to reduce poverty. Then, earlier this year, he announced that he would run in Argentina’s presidential elections, which are scheduled for late 2023.
Milei is a hardcore libertarian and free market absolutist who believes that taxation is theft and raffles off his deputies’ salary each month on the grounds that it’s ill-gotten gains. A career economist who’s worked at pensions funds, consultancies and the bank HSBC, he’s an outsider candidate whose tousled hair and leather jacket help him court a sort of rockstar image.