Freedom Circle logo
Freedom Circle

Where Can You Find Freedom Today?

Territory in southeast South America, ruled since 1861 by the República Argentina

Argentina, officially the República Argentina (Argentine Republic), is a country in the southern half of South America. Argentina covers an area of 2,780,400 km², making it the second-largest country in South America after Brazil, the fourth-largest country in the Americas, and the eighth-largest country in the world. It shares the bulk of the Southern Cone with Chile to the west, and is also bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Drake Passage to the south. Argentina is a federal state subdivided into twenty-three provinces, and one autonomous city, which is the federal capital and largest city of the nation, Buenos Aires. The provinces and the capital have their own constitutions, but exist under a federal system. Argentina claims sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, the Southern Patagonian Ice Field and a part of Antarctica.

Geographical type: Territory

Latitude: 34° S — Longitude: 64° W

Area: 2,780,400 km²

ISO 3166-2 code: AR

Notable Places

Events of Interest

Argentine Declaration of Independence, in San Miguel de Tucumán, Tucumán, on 9 Jul 1816

Measures of Freedom

UpdEconomic Freedom Summary Index, Economic Freedom of the World, 19 Sep 2023
2021: 4.77, Rank: 158
UpdFreedom in the World 2024, Freedom in the World 2024
2024: Status: Free, Aggregate Score: 85/100, Political Rights: 35/40, Civil Liberties: 50/60
Argentina is a vibrant representative democracy with competitive elections, lively media and civil society sectors, and unfettered public debate. Economic instability, institutional weakness, corruption, and drug-related violence are among the country's most serious challenges. In October's presidential election, Peronist candidate Sergio Massa and right-wing libertarian Javier Milei took 36.6 percent and roughly 30 percent of the vote, respectively. Milei was elected president in the second round of polls in November with approximately 56 percent of the vote.
Human Freedom Index [PDF], The Human Freedom Index 2023: A Global Measurement of Personal, Civil, and Economic Freedom
2021: 6.85, Rank: 77, Personal freedom: 8.34, Economic freedom: 4.77

Articles

UpdThe Authority of a Foreign Talisman: A Study of U.S. Constitutional Practice as Authority in Nineteenth Century Argentina and the Argentine Elite's Leap of Faith, by Jonathan M. Miller, American University Law Review, Jun 1997
Examines the history of Argentine law prior to adoption of the 1853 Constitution, the arguments in Alberdi's Bases and the influence of the U.S. Constitution during the remainder of the 19th century and up to 1930
Successful constitutionalism usually is ignored in explaining Argentina's enormous economic success in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Between 1880 and 1913 Argentina was neck-and-neck with Japan for the title of fastest growing economy in the world, and between 1869 and 1914 high European immigration helped boost [its] population from 1.7 to 7.9 million people, a growth rate of 3.4% per year. Real Gross Domestic Product grew at an average rate of at least 5% per year in the fifty years preceding World War I, and jumped to an average growth rate of 6.7% between 1917 and 1929.
Classical Liberalism in Argentina: A Lesson for the World, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Freedom Daily, Jul 1994
Highlights Argentine history from the 1810 revolution to the late 20th century, arguing that the period from 1852 to 1930 demonstrated the validity of Adam Smith's writings, also discussing 1958 visits by Leonard Read and Ludwig von Mises
The period from 1850 to 1930 in Argentine history is a model—a beacon shining through the darkness of history—a confirmation that what Adam Smith had discovered was true ... Upon [Juan Manuel de] Rosas' ouster, a new constitution for Argentina was drafted. The man most responsible for the new constitution was Juan Bautista Alberdi—one of the greatest men in Argentine history ... In the 1930s, a military coup ousted the popularly elected government. Unfortunately, the new Argentine rulers rejected the Smith-Jefferson-Madison-Alberdi philosophy of economic freedom ...
UpdDon't Cry for Evita, by Bill Bonner, The Daily Reckoning, 12 May 2006
Reflections upon visiting the Recoleta cemetery in Buenos Aires and viewing the tomb of Eva Perón, describing much of her story
Eva Peron was a favorite of the poor of Argentina ... She managed to get one colonel fall for her and then, at a charity event, she got her hands on another one, Juan Peron, and never let him go. [He] was then 48 years old. His first wife had died. He has spent his career in the army and greatly admired the way Mussolini had handled Italy, some of which he had seen firsthand during officer training in the 1930s. In 1943, when he met Eva, Peron wanted to do in Argentina what Mussolini had been able to do in Italy–line up the support of the working classes and take control of the government.
Related Topic: Italy
UpdGive Freedom Its Turn in Latin America, by Manuel F. Ayau, Imprimis, Nov 1984
Paper delivered as part of a seminar in the Center for Constructive Alternatives; argues that problems in Latin American countries are systemic and are due to a "lack of understanding of the economic principles and ethics of a free society"
Only thirty years ago, Argentina was one of the richest and most prosperous countries of the world—fourth or fifth place in income per capita. One can date [its] turning point in prosperity to the modifications of its constitution. It substituted the rule of men for the rule of law. It made government responsible for prosperity ... According to Article 14 (bis.), "the Law" will assure labor ... "of minimum adjustable wage ... paid vacations ... profit sharing ... control of production ... protection against dismissal ... access to a home and family income ..." Can "the law" provide all that?
UpdHow I Became a Liberal, by Alejandro Chafuen, 19 Dec 2003
Chafuen recalls his grandparents and parents, his youth in Argentina, and the people in Argentina and the United States who influenced him; reprinted as chapter 15 of Walter Block's I Chose Liberty (2010)
It is not surprising that with such upbringing I would have a father and mother who, although apolitical, shared the same disgust with the populist culture that has dominated Argentina since the mid-1940s ... Perón, and all that Peronism represents, had enough bad traits to create disgust in [them] ... Alberto Jr. gave me a couple of booklets ... based on the writings of Juan Bautista Alberdi, the ... Argentine mixture of Madison-Jefferson ... My search led me to the Centro de Estudios Sobre la Libertad ... which was founded in the mid 1950s and soon after presided by Alberto Benegas Lynch Sr.
UpdA Libertarian Visits South America, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Freedom Daily, Mar 1999
Relates Hornberger's trip to give lectures and participate in debates at the Instituto de Estudos Empresariais (IEE) in Brazil and the launching of the Fundación Atlas para una Sociedad Libre in Buenos Aires
For more than five years, Gabriel [Salvia, founder of the Fundación Atlas] has been publishing a libertarian newsletter entitled Atlas del Sud, which consists of articles, translated into Spanish, from [U.S. libertarian publications] as well as original articles written by libertarians in Argentina ... During the debate, I pointed out Argentina's libertarian history before Peron's presidency. Taxes were low, economic regulations were few, and the borders were open to trade and immigration. The result was that Argentina had one of the highest standards of living in the world.
The Life, Death, and Resurrection of an Economy, by Michael C. Monson, The Freeman, May 1993
Lengthy economic history of Argentina, from the time of the conquistadors to the early 1990's, highlighting the outstanding growth in the 19th and early 20th century and the economic nationalism and government interventions in the 20th century
Alberdi's call for free enterprise and free immigration ... was most fully implemented in Argentina. The results of embracing free-market principles were dramatic. During the 50-year period preceding World War I, Argentina experienced a phenomenal rate of economic growth, one virtually without parallel in world history ... The three decades spanning the turn of the century were years of stunning economic growth ... It was a period, for the most part, of laissez-faire capitalism. Foreign investments and immigration were encouraged. Personal liberty and economic liberty were supported.
Professor Ludwig von Mises Discusses Free Enterprise, La Prensa, 2 Jun 1959
Original title: De la Libre Empresa Habló el Profesor Dr. Ludwig von Mises
Translation of article reporting Mises' visit to Buenos Aires; discusses his views on free enterprise, inflation, the policies of De Gaulle and Adenauer and the possibility of an Argentine economic recovery
We later asked [Mises] about Argentina's economic troubles and the possibilities of a recovery, and he told us that "at the end of the last world conflagration, other countries found themselves in far worse conditions and with much more serious problems than Argentina faces today, and they were able to recover and even develop a flourishing economy." He pointed out the importance of the financial aspect in every economic recovery program, and repeated the "need to combat inflation."
UpdThe Way of All Cash, Part II, by Bill Bonner, The Daily Reckoning, 2 Jun 2006
Second and final installment of the history of the Peronist movement in Argentina, covering the period from the late 1980's to the early 2000's, as well as going back to before the 1930's and discussing Perón's terms in office
By 1998, Argentina was in a slump; it needed to borrow more and more money to keep up with spending and make up for lost tax revenue. By late 2000, ... [i]nvestors began to wonder how the country could ever make good on so much debt. Speculators started dumping Argentine bonds and withdrawing capital from the country. Scarcely a year later, the whole jig was up. The currency peg was soon broken. The peso collapsed, and along with it, the Argentine economy. Unemployment soared. Banks were closed. Deposits were confiscated. And the Argentine middle class was practically wiped out.
Related Topic: Inflation
UpdThe Way of All Cash, Part I, by Bill Bonner, The Daily Reckoning, 26 May 2006
Continuing from "Don't Cry for Evita", begins to relate the story of Argentine President Juan Perón and the Peronist movement
At the opening of the 20th century, Argentine farmers enjoyed a land of milk and honey–with rising farm prices! Argentines were getting rich, shipping agricultural products to Europe. They built palaces out on their farms, complete with opera houses and polo fields ... At least, at first, it also seemed that Argentina was spared the cultural decline of Europe ... Its armies never got into either world war. It never suffered a great depression in the '30s. Life in Buenos Aires was safe and civilized ... But then, suddenly, the people of the pampas too caught the populist bug.
Related Topic: World War II

Interviews

Interview with Gary Becker, by Gary Becker, Douglas Clement, The Region, Jun 2002
Topics discussed include the economics of crime, economics and law, banking discrimination, economic education, social security, behavioral economics, sociology, career choices and moral hazards
BECKER: Moral hazard is a real problem. Look at Argentina now—I am writing a column about Argentina ... That country was able to borrow $140 billion, mainly in dollars, partly because financial institutions and other lenders expected that Argentina would be bailed out of any crises by the International Monetary Fund and the U.S. government. Otherwise, I do not believe Argentina could have borrowed so much, even at the higher rates they were forced to pay. I hope neither the IMF nor the U.S. government helps these lenders. They have to take the consequences of their poor decisions ...

Books

Bases y Puntos de Partida para la Organización Política de la República Argentina, by Juan Bautista Alberdi, 1852
Bases and Starting Points for the Political Organization of the Argentine Republic, in Spanish; partial contents: Idea de la manera práctica de organizar el gobierno mixto que se propone, tomada de los gobiernos federales de Norteamérica, Suiza y Alemania

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Argentina" as of 27 Jun 2024, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.