Argentina has had episodes of very high inflation that lasted several years. This is the 25 year graph of inflation rates in Argentina...

argentina inflation 25 years

There have been several years at approximately 10% and several years well above that.

Older data shows periods when inflation was even higher...

argentina long span inflation graph

Between 1974 and 1986 inflation was appallingly high and then it got worse. For example in 1977 it was 163%. In 1989 it was 4923%.

In the matter of per capita GDP they have done poorly. For example, in 1962, per capita GDP was similar between the U.K. ($1525) and Argentina ($1163) but then Argentina has fallen far behind.

uk and argentina per capita gdp

Wikipedia says... "Since 1946, Peronists have won 10 out of the 13 presidential elections in which they have been allowed to run." I think it is safe to say Peronists deserve much of the blame for the poor economic performance. I find it hard to understand why the Peronists have had the degree of electoral success that they enjoyed given Argentina's history of apparent economic mismanagement. I'd like to see electioneering speeches given by the likes of the de Kirchners, auto-translated to spoken English. Is there such a resource?

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    I am not sure how answerable this is, but that is an excellent question that has also long fascinated me. I suspect that tacit US support for the Argentinian junta, along with the atrocities committed by said junta, has resulted in an aura of lefty martyrdom and sainthood for what's otherwise an incompetent and corrupt kleptocracy. i.e. They probably define themselves by what they oppose, capitalism and the evil IMF rather than what they achieve. Looking forward to answers. Aug 19, 2023 at 18:55
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    I think that assuming that governments are responsible for macroeconomic trends is a potentially false assumption. There are so many other factors that can enter into it. One needs to do more than say "look, this govenrment was in charge and the economy was bad," and rather point to specific policies that might have worsened the economy based on past experience and theory.
    – Obie 2.0
    Aug 19, 2023 at 19:02
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    @Obie2.0 Sure. Peronists have put in an export tax on grain and beef, as an example. They've defaulted numerous times, faked inflation stats, had multiple exchange rates. You can totally have leftwards leaning views and expect a competent government. This one is not it. Aug 19, 2023 at 19:10
  • @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica one motivation for this inquiry is that I understood Berlusconi's electoral success better after I listened to Trump. In fact, I didn't understand Italian voters at all until I listened to Trump.
    – H2ONaCl
    Aug 20, 2023 at 9:15
  • OK. "Amusingly" enough, one frontrunner now is a big-L Libertarian who is a Trump fan. What could ever go wrong, one asks? And to stick with amusing stuff: Argentina ex-minister arrested over cash bags at monastery - BBC News Defense? "It was for the nuns!" aljazeera.com/news/2022/8/26/… and mr moneybags gets out of jail for $140k Aug 20, 2023 at 17:25

1 Answer 1


Quite simply, socialism's selling point gets more powerful the worse the economy is, and socialism (as you've shown for Argentina) makes the economy worse.

Peronism and socialism in general works on the general principle of governmental transfers of wealth. And people who vote for welfare because they know that right now, they need access to welfare, because they are poor, and that has real consequences. Effectively, they choose a low time preference because they may not have time for a long time preference.

Eventually, if it gets bad enough, the economy gets bad enough that low and high time preferences begin to align, and you get a Milei, who straight up says "This will suck, but we will get through this."

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