Early every Wednesday morning, a Polish-born ex-peddler rides in a chauffeured limousine to the Pink House, headquarters of Argentina's federal government. Smiling and confident, he takes his place among the high officials gathered for the weekly Cabinet meeting presided over by early-rising Strongman Juan Perón. The ex-peddler is José B. Gelbard, 38, a well-to-do clothing wholesaler and president of the fast-growing General Economic Confederation (C.G.E.), a government-sponsored association that speaks for Argentine business.

Prop & Counterweight. Until a little more than a year ago, business had no effective voice in Perón's...

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