Uruguay: Disillusion in Utopia

Uruguayans pride themselves on having the purest democracy in the Western Hemisphere. They got it 14 years ago, when the nation abolished its one-man presidency and set up a Swiss-style nine-man National Council, in which four members of the majority party take annual turns as the country's nominal President. It turned out to be too much of a good thing, for the government was paralyzed much of the time and the men in power could not resist voting an ever greater welfare state for its 2,600,000 people.

Today the tiny wool-and beef-producing nation offers so many giveaways (among them: full-pay...

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