Dollars and Chainsaws: Assessing Milei’s Campaign for Dollarization in Argentina


Throughout the campaign, the ultraliberal candidate, Milei, faced a significant challenge in explaining where the necessary funds for dollarizing South America’s second largest economy, Argentina, would come from. This issue became even more pressing considering Argentina’s lack of US dollar reserves, which poses a serious problem for the country’s economic stability.

A situation where Milei is attempting to make a “limonada” without any limes accurately depicts the challenging predicament. Without any cash reserves, it seems unrealistic to pursue such a drastic economic change.

One of the prominent symbols of Milei’s campaign is the “motosserra,” a tool that represents the candidate’s desire to drastically reduce government spending. It is no secret that Argentina’s government consumes a significant portion of the Gross International Product (GIB), with a staggering 40% expenditure. Milei claims that the motorcycle represents one-third of all government expenses, symbolizing the urgent need for spending cuts.

However, the motosserra’s power seems to be dwindling as the campaign progresses. In the second round, Milei’s tone softened, and the candidate expressed a more moderate approach. While Milei has been critical of Argentine government subsidies in the past, the candidate now promises gradual change rather than sudden shocks to the system. Milei reassured the public that there would be no major increases in the cost of electricity or fuel, attempting to alleviate concerns about potential economic volatility.

Meanwhile, Sergio Massa, another prominent candidate, adjusted his plans to shrink the size of the state amid widespread fear-mongering tactics from the government. Massa decided not to fire public employees or privatize the education and healthcare systems, indicating a more cautious approach to proposed changes.

This shift in tone from both candidates appears to be politically strategic. Sergio Massa aimed to secure the votes of Radical voters, who played a significant role in putting him in second place during the first round. By moderating his plans, Massa hoped to appeal to this crucial group of voters and convince them to support him on election day.

Looking ahead, the question that remains is whether Milei will be able to translate her campaign promises into action if she wins. While the candidate has expressed a desire to implement significant changes, it will still require careful planning and cooperation with various stakeholders to effectively execute these plans. The challenge lies not only in finding the necessary funds for dollarization but also in managing the potential economic impacts and ensuring a smooth transition to the new system.

In conclusion, Milei’s campaign faced obstacles in explaining the feasibility of dollarizing Argentina’s economy, given the country’s lack of US dollar reserves. The campaign’s symbol, the motosserra, represented Milei’s desire to reduce government spending, but the candidate’s tone softened in the second round. Sergio Massa also adjusted his plans to appeal to Radical voters. The ultimate test lies in Milei’s ability to turn promises into action and effectively implement the proposed changes if elected.