Continued Decline Of West. Yet Hope In Argentina. Bill Bonner & Joel Bowman

Reposted From Paid Private Newsletter From The Desk Of Bill Bonner:  Bonner Private Research.  Bill Bonner is a financial analyst who also comments on politics and culture.

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Is Western Civilization in decline? More evidence in a minute. First, in an historic turnaround, a democratic government has voted to shrink itself. At least, that is our reading of yesterday’s election in Argentina. The voters have had enough. Bloomberg:

Argentina Takes Leap Into Unknown With Javier Milei as President

Libertarian outsider Javier Milei won Argentina’s presidency promising a radical shakeup to fix decades of policy mismanagement, a strategy that resonated with a populace suffering under a nosediving economy and one of the world’s fastest inflation rates.

With 99% of ballots counted after Sunday’s runoff election, Milei took 56% of the votes to 44% for Economy Minister Sergio Massa of the incumbent left-wing Peronist coalition, according to the official electoral authority.
Will this be good? Bad? We don’t know. But we’re sure it will be fun to watch. Our man on the scene, Joel, will have more below.

I, Capitalism
In the meantime, while Argentina may be correcting mistakes, the rest of the West is making more than ever. A small illustration:

An English friend showed up for dinner on Saturday. He drove a new Citroen, built by the company founded by Andre Citroen in 1919. It had front-wheel drive, invented by Citroen himself, but was assembled from products and materials gathered from all over the world. It burned gasoline that came from the Total station down the road; Total was established in 1924…its fuel comes from several sources, none of them local. This gas may have been imported from its Jubail refinery in Saudi Arabia.

We sat down in a house built by others, more than a century ago, to a simple dinner of fish (perhaps from the North Atlantic…‘harvested’ by a Portuguese fisherman) with tomatoes from North Africa…local carrots…and a dessert made with sugar imported, most likely, from Central America.

Then, after dinner…followed coffee that had been introduced to Europe by Venetian traders in the 16th century. The beans were grown in Ethiopia and made their way to the local grocery store.

Woke Nonsense
After the dinner was completed, it began to get dark, so we turned a switch and the electric lights came on. None of us at the table had anything more to do with inventing electrical illumination than we had with any other part of the evening’s comforts. None of us could reproduce either the simplest electric light, nor the electricity to power it, even with the working models right in front of us. A Russian invented an arc lamp as early as 1802. Thomas Edison and Joseph Swan developed a more practical form of light – an incandescent bulb – much later. It was into this soft light that we pulled out our guitars, spoons, and harmonicas – none of them made by ourselves – for a little musical distraction.

It was then that our guest apologized.

“I always feel a little guilty about playing the blues,” he said.

“Why’s that,” we asked?

“I mean, I’m not Black. It is someone else’s music.”

“Cultural appropriation,” is the “woke” term. It is such an absurd idea, that we will move on immediately.

We only bring it up to remind ourselves how much of modern material civilization was developed in the West…and how much of it has been happily appropriated by the rest of the world.

Sharing is Caring
Trains, planes, automobiles…internal combustion engines, electric engines…rotary engines…elevators…painless dentistry…air-conditioning…microchips… wood chippers…Chip & Dale…TV…the internet…social media – all were developed by Europeans.

But today, non-Europeans manufacture them, reproduce them, enjoy them, and improve them..

That is, of course, the way it works. Knowledge…technology…culture…art… music…math – all get appropriated. And misappropriated.

The Wright Bros. were widely doubted and dissed in America. When they reported that they had built a ‘flying machine,’ many people considered them frauds. After all, they were guys who ran a bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio. Unlike other aeronautical pioneers, they had no college degrees, no government funding and no scientific credentials.

So, they went to France. In 1908, Wilbur demonstrated his plane at Le Mans. He flew a figure 8 pattern, proving that he could not only go aloft but control the plane’s movements. The French were delighted…and soon Wilbur, Orville, and their sister Katharine, a school teacher, were the toast of Paris. They were invited to meet with presidents and royalty…while the whole world raced to get into the air. Only six years later, the French, English and Germans were using aeroplanes to drop bombs on each other.

So it goes…products, ideas, language, germs, designs, technology are always on the move. Evolving….changing. Always appropriated. And often improved! The Chinese may have invented pasta…but they didn’t make ravioli it the way our aunt, Alma di Grazia, bless her soul, used to make it.

Regards,

Bill Bonner

Joel’s Note: When we want to know what’s happening here in Argentina, we just stick our head outside our apartment window.

When things are going poorly – high inflation, unpopular public policies, losing football teams, etc. – the locals bang their pots and pans, creating a deafening “cacerolazo” protest that rings out around the city.

When things are going well – World Cup victories, the end of pandemic lockdowns, resounding defeats for the ruling Peronist “caste” – they take to their balconies to sing and celebrate.

The cheering started shortly after 8 o’clock last night. That was how we found out who had won the presidential election.

“Vamos Milei!” hooted the crowd across the way, proclaiming victory for the self-described anarcho-capitalist candidate. “Vamoooooooos Argentina!!!”

Cars honked their horns up and down the street, the way they do when one or another football team scores a “goooooooool!” Folks crowded the plazas and pizzerias, cheering and hugging each other. Below our apartment window, at a Romario’s Italian restaurant, we watched a family of ten or twelve embrace in tearful celebration. And this is the capital city, where the incumbent, Sergio “200% Inflation” Massa, was favored to win heavily. (Gotta love those polls!)

For their part, the mainstream press dutifully carries the election story. Their “reporting” is full of all the usual slander and claptrap… Milei is a “Trump sympathizer”… a “climate denier”… a “conspiracy theorist.”

But beyond the cheap epithets and puddle-deep analysis, few will mention that last night’s victory for Milei represented a staunch repudiation of seven decades of Peronist populism, which dragged the once-prosperous nation from the top of the world into the economic doldrums.

With 56% of the vote, Milei garnered the single highest percentage of any presidential candidate since Argentina’s return to democracy, back in 1983. And who voted for him? The poor. The working class. Even the youth swung heavily in his favor. (The Peronists now surely regret having passed a law a few years ago to lower the voting age. Whoopsie!)

And while the political caste cry into their mate this morning, the rest of Latin America is watching closely. They are energized. They know that, if it’s possible to disrupt the establishment in Argentina… it might just be possible in their country, too.

More to come from the fin del mundo later..

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