The Trials of Job

It will take weeks, perhaps months, to assess the financial toll of last week's earthquakes. But most analysts of Mexican affairs would agree that the disaster could not have come at a worse time for the country's troubled economy. As Peter Bell, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, puts it, "Mexico has been going through something like the trials of Job."

For more than two years, Mexicans have endured the imposition of one austerity package after another. They have watched government food subsidies shrink, unemployment rise, the value of the peso sink (it slid to...

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