Last Wednesday there was a meeting on Argentine TV between political leaders that at times seemed more like the cloister of the Cambridge Apostles or a class on History of Economic Thought at the UBA than the screaming for the search for a seat in Congress. In the TN studios (in the program A dos voices), María Fernanda Vallejos (deputy-FdT) read aloud a paragraph from La Riqueza de las Naciones, the book that Adam Smith wrote in 1776, for many the founding work of economic science. The candidates for deputies Javier Milei, Manuela Castiñeira and Marcelo Ramal, did not cross what Vallejos said but made it clear what position they had on Smith and what school of economic thought they endorsed. Suddenly the debate turned academic.
“Adam Smith made a mistake with the work-value theory”Milei said. “This mistake led to the work of Karl Marx, Capital, a mistake”.
“The Marxist theory was the overcoming”Castiñeira continued. “In truth, the school of economic thought endorsed by Milei, the Austrian, is 300 years behind.”Ramal said.
Javier Milei and Fernanda Vallejos in a strong intersection in A dos voices.
The political fight, inflation and the photos of Olivos evaporated from the air. At least for a few minutes. Did the rating drop? No, it remained.
The video of this exchange has almost 300,000 views on YouTube, equivalent to almost three rating points. How can it be then that an exchange about authors of classical economics and the benefits or not of capitalism gather interest?
“It is not so much if you take into account that videos that I upload to the internet with discussions about the socialism and capitalism ranging from 500 thousand to 2 million views “, Milei tells Clarion for this note.
“John Maynard Keynes knew better than anyone how an economy with uncertainty works,” says Martín Tetaz
Milei’s list of favorite authors is extensive. In it they stand out Friedrich Hayek and Murray Rothbard, two Austrian school economists who helped define modern libertarianism by popularizing anarchism and anarcho-capitalism. AND Adam smith, the father of the free market? “He is one of my most cited authors despite the mistake he made with the value theory,” says Milei, he described the fundamental elements of economic growth. “
José Luis Espert, economist and candidate for deputy, has among his favorite economists three from the University of Chicago, a reference of economic orthodoxy today: Milton Friedman, Thomas Sowell and Lars Peter Hansen. But unlike his colleague, he highlights Keynes. “He is the father of modern macroeconomics and his contribution to science is extraordinary”.
“I identify myself with Karl Marx because he solved the problems of economics with a scientific method” (Marcelo Ramal)
Another candidate and economist identified with the most orthodox ideas is Ricardo López Murphy. He will participate in the Juntos por el Cambio internship.
But who may be the link between Milei-Espert-López Murphy and the left is Martín Tetaz, an economist and a candidate also for Together for Change. “Smith understood better than anyone how the pricing system worked”, raises the companion of María Eugenia Vidal in the City, differentiating himself from Milei. “But Keynes knew better than anyone how an economy with uncertainty worked and that is the great contribution. I stay with Keynes “.
The English economist wrote The General Theory of Occupation, Interest and Money, for many the relevant work of the 20th century. His idea, basically, is that the capitalist production system is subject to boom and bust cycles as described by Smith and Marx. But while for the former the solution would be provided by the free market and for Marx the system was condemned to digest the overproduction and social tensions it generated, Keynes believed that the State had to intervene when uncertainty led businessmen to not invest and further aggravate the economy. excess installed capacity and unemployment.
“I stay with Smith, Hayek and Rothbard. Whatever topic one takes, 75% is in the original article” (Javier Milei)
To what extent are these topics of interest and relevant to voters? If there is something that the Argentine economy does not suffer, it is the tensions that Marxism denounced because there is neither overproduction nor over exploitation: in Argentina there is neither increase neither employment generation.
Among the candidates on the left who know the works of these thinkers are, in addition to those mentioned, Carlos Heller (Frente de Todos) and Jorge Altamira (Tendencia del Partido Obrero).
“I identify with the work of Karl Marx”says Ramal. An economist and professor of the History of Economic Thought at the UBA and the UNQ, Ramal left the tour yesterday in Boedo for a few minutes and talked about his thinking. “I am passionate about these issues and what happened the other day on TV I couldn’t let go. The behavior of Milei and the libertarians has something of an imposter. When the Lehman Brothers crisis occurred in 2009 and the state put up money to bail out the banks, the libertarians fell silent. But when the social aid packages come out for the Covid, the libertarians accuse us of the left as statists. Marx’s Capital was a book that solved the fundamental problems of economics as science “.
There are a few weeks left and there will be more debates among economists. There will be no lack of questioning of capitalism by the Frente de Todos and the left. Debates that began 150 years ago and are still raging in 2021.