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Uruguay: Business Elites
Country Study > Chapter 2 > The Society and Its Environment > Social Classes > Business Elites

BUSINESS ELITES


Uruguay's commercial, financial, and industrial elites were more cosmopolitan than the big ranchers. However, the high number of basic industries and utilities run by the state meant that large private entrepreneurs were less numerous than would otherwise be the case. The urban-rural divide was no longer very pronounced: traditional landowning families had diversified into food processing and other businesses, while the sons and daughters of businessmen were ensured a private education. Until 1984 there was only one university in the country, the University of the Republic (also known as the University of Montevideo); it served as a major force for miscegenation among elites and even among the middle classes.

Foreign multinational corporations were less active inUruguay than in many other Latin American countries because of the small size of its domestic market. One exception to this, however, was the banking system, which was heavily taken over by European and North American conglomerates in the 1970s and 1980s. A pattern of close cooperation between domestic and foreign business interests had emerged on the basis of joint ventures and licensing agreements.

Urban business interests were organized in two rival associations: the Chamber of Industry, which was dominated by industrial manufacturers, and the Chamber of Commerce, which was more oriented toward services and retail trades. The Chamber of Commerce was enthusiastic about the liberalization of imports and the maintenance of a strong currency from 1977 to 1982. By contrast, foreign competition hit industry hard, accustomed as it was to the high rates of protection given by the previous model of import-substitution industrialization.

Data as of December 1990




Last Updated: December 1990


Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Uruguay was first published in 1990. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.

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