CHILE: Balance Sheet

No ordinary business notice was the letter posted by the Finance Ministry in Santiago last week, urging government contractors to stop in and pick up their monthly checks—cashable immediately. In Chile, where contractors are resigned to waiting years for the government to pay, it was a sign of real progress. In the nine months since Paper Tycoon Jorge Alessandri, 63, moved in as President on a free-enterprise platform, the longtime degeneration of the national economy has been halted, even reversed in spots. Items on the ledger:

¶ Industrial output rose 10%. v. an 8.5% drop in the last two...

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