The Next Big Test: Brazil

Can it stay the capitalist course amid turmoil?

Brazilians sardonically call their monstrous public bureaucracy O Trem da Alegria--the Joy Train. It is ridden by millions of officials like Cesar Almeida, mayor of a working-class town near Rio de Janeiro. The Globo TV network revealed last month that he has manipulated the system so cleverly that he earns $22,000 a month--twice the salary of the country's President--while teachers earn as little as $70 a month. Brazil was able to finance that kind of waste when foreign capital was pouring in. But now, with the global financial crisis sucking hundreds of millions of dollars out of Brazil each day, the...

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