THE AMERICAS: Inflation's Outer Spaces

Inflation has dealt a harder blow to South America than to any other region in the world. Of the 86 nations in the U.N.'s global cost-of-living index, Bolivia is in first place. Chile is second, Brazil and Argentina rank high. "A fire burning down our house," Bolivia's President Hernan Siles Zuazo calls inflation. "We will be lucky if we get out at all."

The inflationary blaze in Latin America began about a decade ago with a small, warm glow, fed by the best of intentions: to match the standards of the prosperous, industrialized...

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