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About the Author: John Perkins

John Perkins is an activist and author As a former chief economist at Boston strategic consulting firm Chas T Main, Perkins says that he was an economic hit man for 10 years, helping U.S intelligence agencies and multinational corporations cajole and blackmail foreign leaders into serving U.S foreign policy and awarding lucrative contracts to American business.However, after several years s



10 thoughts on “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

  1. says:

    At the end of Three Days of the Condor the guy who is not Robert Redford, the guy who is the evil CIA operative who has been trying to bring him home throughout the film which we have guessed is a euphuism for take him out is talking about why the CIA does bad, manipulative things in the world He tells Redford that it is simple economics and anyway, what would Redford expect them to do Redford says he should ask the American people first The CIA man looks at Redford in the way so many people do when confronted with the naivety of the person they are talking to, but finally replies, Ask them when there s no heat and they re cold Ask them when their engines stop Ask them when people who have never known hunger start going hungry Want to know something They won t want us to ask them They ll want us to get it for them The whole way through this most remarkable book I found myself thinking of that line and that last scene from Three Days of the Condor This is one of the most fascinating books I ve read in quite a long time It reads like a Le Carre novel or something by Graham Green, and yet it is autobiographical A young man becomes drawn into international finance and has the role of convincing third world countries particularly the leaders of these countries to take out loans that are so huge their countries will never be able to repay them They do this so as to ensure that these countries become satellites orbiting the American Empire His job was to make these countries compliant, dependent, and endlessly economically exploitable Perkins asserts that the economic hit men were potentially only phase one of what could become a three phase attack on the democratic rights and independence of foreign nations If bribing the leaders of countries with massive loans they could never repay didn t work, then the jackals were sent in to kill selected targets and to create mayhem that would ensure the right people would be put into power If this didn t work, then US troops were sent in He gives instance after instance of where this pattern was applied in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia over a period of about three decades It would be hard to imagine someone from the US reading this book without a growing sense of shame It is hard to read this book from anywhere in the first world without feelings of responsibility, disgust and self loathing He reminds us continually that our lavish and unsustainable life style is only possible by the exploitation unto death of large parts of the globe.This is also a remarkably well written autobiography if Noam Chomsky was to make up a character who walked the path of evil before converting and walking the path of righteousness, he s have come up with someone pretty much like John Perkins Perkins does not come out of this book a saint, but he does come out of it a bit of a hero I think It surprises me I can say that this book ever got published I believe we live in times when global capitalism is so cocksure of its pre eminence and unassailability that it doesn t even bother to cover up its deeds I think I preferred it when the rulers of the world at least pretended they were concerned we might overthrown them if we caught them at their cheating I think I preferred it when they would lie to us, if for no better reason than purely out of shame Now they don t even bother to treat us to that level of respect We have become completely contemptible Where they can do whatever they like and then rub our noses in it and we will only shake our heads and complain about how powerless we are.This really is a fascinating book, fascinating in the literal sense of having one s attention stolen as we read Like I said, this reads like a spy novel, but made even compelling by it being true.This book demands to be read.


  2. says:

    Terrible Here s the book in a nutshell I m in 3rd world country doing I feel bad about this I meet He takes me to I learn I return to my out of touch american enclave and happen upon He like a prophet The process then repeats.Anyway, I m sure the ideas in this book will help some 19 year old get laid and if you are that 19 year old then I can not recommend this book highly enough.


  3. says:

    Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, while purportedly the author s memoir and hard hitting expose of his work in the corporatocracy , reads like a flat and repetitive mass market thriller In the 1970s, John Perkins began working for MAIN, an international consulting firm, as an economist who developed inflated projections of development in poor countries, so that they would then become dependent on richer countries like the United States As Perkins explains, the corporatocracy consists of international corporations, banks, and governments that utilize various financial and political resources to enforce and maintain the idea that all economic growth is beneficial, and futher, is most beneficial to those that instigate, while those who do not should be exploited To illustrate this idea, Perkins explains his travels and work in countries such as Panama, Indonesia, and Ecuador He also details his transition from economic hit man to concerned American citizen.For all I know, Perkins account may be one hundred percent true, but there were several things which I did not find convincing He presents the idea of the corporatocracy as a novel concept, whereas anyone paying the slightest attention to world politics and history over the past fifty years is most likely already aware of the trend of a few governments, banks and corporations controlling the global arena and the victimization of poorer populations It is difficult to trust Perkins the narrator, especially since he tends toward cloak and dagger dramatizations and also because he made a living for many years from deception and exaggeration He claims that he was intimately involved in events such as the Saudi Arabian Money Laundering Affair, but many of these claims are not supported by outside evidence I also did not find Perkins to be a very sympathetic character He continually expresses his frustration with his job in one sentence and then justifies his choice to stick with it in the next by painting a picture of himself as a victim I don t find much of Perkins account to be reliable, but as a semi fictional account, in the line of a mass market thriller loosely based on reality, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man makes important points about the ways in which the corporatocracy works to uphold the status quo.


  4. says:

    Good message, important, but reads like fiction If this guy wanted to have any serious impact he should have written something less sensational Also, he s a jackass He spent his whole life screwing over everybody, including his friends, and then he writes a book for which he probably made lots of money and became famous and we re supposed to believe this guy suddenly developed a conscience I don t buy it.


  5. says:

    My short review is this Confessions is a good introduction to the darker side of foreign policy and the effects of globalization.My slightly longer explanation is this Paradoxically, what makes the book accessible is also what turns many people off to it It takes a chunk of history about a particular topic, and describes it in largely narrative form Much of this is due to the book being an account of Perkins career during that time Admittedly, it becomes somewhat taxing at times to slog through Perkins attempt at literary description I doubt I d read a fiction novel from him However, the book is still mostly content, and important content at that The topic is mainly about how the altruism of globalization is a hoax, and how our government does some quite terrible things to maintain its interests I ve heard many people complain about not being able to sympathize with the author, but I don t really think that s the point If you re looking for a good fire side read, this isn t it Additionally, I m amazed how many people have simply brushed the book off with an I don t buy it The book is meant as a spring board, not a road map Agree or not, at least go out and do some research on the topic To simply disagree with an idea because it s hard to swallow is a level of self denial that keeps therapists in business So, ultimately, if you re new to the field of globalization and global politics, this is a good, radical, introduction even though it may be counter to the view you hold right now, it s always good to know what the other side s argument is If you re already well versed in the subject, you can probably skip this one Read Chomsky.


  6. says:

    This is a remarkable work, decades in the making Perkins is the real deal, an economist who worked for international consortia to pillage the third world The modus operandi was to perform economic analysis of target nations that indicated a rate of growth far in excess of any real possibility in order to justify offering those nations huge loans, loans they were never expected to be able to repay The point of this was twofold First, the money loaned would find its way right back into the pocket of American corporations, because it would be used for major construction projects, roads, dams, electrification projects The economic benefits would never accrue as predicted, so the host country would be saddled with crushing debt and then be forced by entities like the IMF to slash and burn domestic social services in order to make interest payments The benefits of the development would go to the elite of the host nations, at the expense of the lower classes In fact, he offers data showing that poverty increased over the term of such foreign investment Local elites were essentially bribed to go along, and they in turn acted as enforcers for the American elite that was pushing the product John Perkins began as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador He managed rather well with this experience and was recruited by a corporate type into the MAIN corporation, the actor in most of the hit man activity In fact the title was not a case of advocacy hyperbole The people in this line of work actually refer to each other and themselves as Economic Hit Men, or EHM s.I learned several things in reading this First was that conquest via excessive indebtedness was a conscious policy, with the short term profitability of development by Bechtel or equivalent being icing on the cake of overall domination.I learned about SAMA, or the Saudi Arabia Money Laundering Affair Perkins talks about several of the leaders he came to know, Trujillo in Panama, Jaime Roldos in Ecuador, other leaders of less than presidential caliber P 15 My job was to forecast the effects of investing billions of dollars in a country Specifically, I would produce studies that projected economic growth twenty to twenty five years into the future and that evaluated the impacts of various projects For example, if a decision was made to lend a country 1 billion to persuade its leaders not to align with the Soviet union, I would compare the benefits of investing that money in power plants with the benefits of investing in a new national railroad network or a telecommunications system Or I might be told that the country was being offered the opportunity to receive a modern electric utility system, and it would be up to me to demonstrate that such a system would result in sufficient economic growth to justify the loan The critical factor, in every case, was gross national product The project that resulted in the highest average annual growth of GNP won If only one project was under consideration, I would need to demonstrate that developing it would bring superior benefits to the GNP.The unspoken aspect of every one of these projects was that they were intended to create large profits for the contractors, and to make a handful of wealthy and influential families in the receiving countries very happy, while assuring the long term financial dependence and therefore political loyalty of governments around the world The larger the loan, the better The fact that the debt burden placed on a country would deprive its poorest citizens of health, education and other social services for decades to come was not taken into consideration.P 16 talked about the deceptive nature of GNP For instance, the growth of GNP may result even when it profits only one person, such as an individual who owns a utility company, and even if the majority of the population is burdened with debt The rich get richer and the poor grow poorer Yet from a statistical standpoint, this is recorded as economic progress Over the years, I ve repeatedly heard comments like, If they re going to burn the U.S flag and demonstrate against our embassy, why don t we just get out of their damn country and let them wallow in their own poverty People who say such things often hold diplomas certifying that they are well educated However, these people have no clue that the main reason we establish embassies around the world is to serve our own interests, which during the last half of the twentieth century meant turning the American republic into a global empire Despite credentials, such people are as uneducated as those eighteenth century colonists who believed that Indians fighting to defend their lands were servants of the devil.P 17 quoting his teacher Claudine We re in a small, exclusive club, she said We re paid well paid to cheat countries around the globe out of billions of dollars A large part of your job is to encourage world leaders to become part of a vast network that promotes U.S commercial interests In the end, those leaders become ensnared in a web of debt that ensures their loyalty We can draw on them whenever we desire to satisfy our political, economic, or military needs In turn, these leaders bolster their political position by bringing industrial parks, power plants, and airports to their people Meanwhile, the owners of U.S engineering and construction companies become very wealthy.P 23 The source of the Boogey man image appears to be Indonesia Apparently there were pirates from a place called Bugi the infamous Bugi pirates, who still sailed the seas of the archipelago, and who had so terrorized early European sailors that they returned home to warn their children, Behave yourselves or the Bugimen will get you P 49..I knew enough history to know that suppliers who are exploited long enough will rebel I had only to return to the American Revolution and Tom Paine for a model I recalled that Britain justified its taxes by claiming that England was providing aid to the colonies in the form of military protection against the French and the Indians The colonists had a very different interpretation.What Paine offered to his countrymen in the brilliant Common Sense was the soul that my young Indonesian friends had referred to an idea, a faith in the justice of a higher power, and a religion of freedom and equality that was diametrically opposed to the British monarchy and its elitist class systems What Muslims offered was similar faith in a higher power, and a belief that developed countries have no right to subjugate and exploit the rest of the world Like colonial Minutemen, Muslims were threatening to fight for their rights, and like the British in the 1770s, we classified such actions as terrorism.P 58Panama was part of Columbia when the French engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps, who directed construction f the Suez Canal, decided to build a canal through the Central American isthmus, to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans Beginning in 1881, the French undertook a mammoth effort that met with one catastrophe after another Finally, in 1889, the project ended in financial disaster but it had inspired a dream in Theodore Roosevelt During the first years of the twentieth century, the United States demanded that Colombia sign a treaty turning the isthmus over to a North American consortium Colombia refused.In 1903, President Roosevelt sent in the U.S warship Nashville U.S soldiers landed, seized and killed a popular local militia commander, and declared Panama an independent nation A puppet government was installed and the first Canal Treaty was signed it established an American zone on both sides of the future waterway, legalized U.S military intervention, and gave Washington virtual control over this newly formed independent nation the treaty was not signed by a single Panamanian.P 72 re GuatemalaUnited Fruit Company had been Guatemala s equivalent to the Panama Canal Founded in the late 1800s, United Fruit soon grew into one of the most powerful forces in Central America During the early 1950s, reform candidate Jacobo Arbenz was elected president of Guatemala in an election hailed all over the hemisphere as a model of the democratic process At the time, less than 3 percent pf Guatemalans owned 70 percent of the land Arbenz promised to help the poor dig their way out of starvation, and after his election he implemented a comprehensive land reform program United Fruit launched a major public relations campaign in the United States, aimed at convincing the American public and congress that Arbenz was part of a Russian plot and that Guatemala was a Soviet satellite In 1954, the CIA orchestrated a coup American pilots bombed Guatemala city and the democratically elected Arbenz was overthrown, replaced by Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas, a ruthless, right wing dictator.Thje new government owed everything to United Fruit By way of thanks, the government reversed the land reform process, abolished taxes on the interest and dividends paid to foreign investors, eliminated the secret ballot, and jailed thousands of its critics Anyone who dared to speak out against Castillo was persecuted Torrijos then asks Perkins Do you know who owns United Fruit Zapata Oil, George Bush s company our UN ambassador.


  7. says:

    Here s why a lot of people won t like this book it s brutally honest, historically accurate, and it has a message.Here s why a lot of people will like this book see above.Perkins story about himself is not for everyone I ll tell you that right now The biggest reasons are a his constant dealings with historical leaders, politics, and world geography throughout the 60 s, 70 s, and 80 s and b even though he translates many economic terms and explains what he s doing, how, where, when, and why, it could be confusing or overwhelming for the average reader This isn t a rip by any means, it s just the reality of the book I mean, look at the title Let me put it this way if I were to read a book about a guy who does C for a living, I d be lost Same idea On the other hand, if you like history, politics, and economics, then this Bud s for you Perkins does a great job with the tempo of his book, and really explains how other countries are in bed with big business here in America Personally, I found the part about The Saudi Arabia Money Laundering Affair exciting to readchalk me up to geek I remember finishing the book, and declaring to Melis, My GodI have to get a Hybrid If you like world affairs from the early 60 s through present day, and you know and understand basic economics, then you should enjoy this book.


  8. says:

    I don t know why I keep reading books like thisI only get and depressed about the state of the world Perkins story is well told and it kept me interested throughout Like a lot of other political books I ve read of late, this one is made even relevant by the events that have occurred even in the short time since it was published The book tells the tale of the American led imperialism around the world leading up to the events of 9 11 and even the subsequent invasion of Iraq The sad part is the characters have barely changed in the past 30 years the same few idiots have manipulated world affairs and they are still doing it Dick Cheney foremost among them I ll tell you this, if you have any doubts that the Bechtels and Halliburtons of the world are in charge of everything including American foreign policy this book will rid you of those doubts One bright spot is that Perkins ends the book with some advice on how we as real Americans can change things I m not optimistic that we can, but at least there are some things we can do short of revolution.Anyway, interesting that I chose to read this on the heels of 1984 Power corrupts


  9. says:

    This is garbage Worse than that, I think this book is dangerous First of all, I think Perkins is a total liar I don t doubt that there are people out there that make their living by betting against developing countries, and I don t doubt that there are people who have an economic incentive for progressive third world leaders to fail But I really doubt that the way these people ply their trade is by having beautiful blonds show young business guys in this case, Perkins the dark path by intellectually seducing them in Boston apartments while going around calling themselves hitmen It really stretches the realm of the believable.And no, just because no one has called him a liar doesn t mean he s telling the truth, it means that his argument is so insanely overdrawn that serious people in positions of power do not take him seriously.Which leads me to my next point This book is dangerous Its dangerous because it feeds into the stupid left conspiracies that keep progressive economists impotent There is a world wide conspiracy They meet in dark rooms and plot our destruction Nothing is that simple, folks, and until we give up on fairy tales and start looking at the global economy as it exists, meaning as a complicated world where many powerful people are at cross purposes and no few grand conspiracies ever come to fruition we are bound to lose.


  10. says:

    I d had high expectations of this book and was very disappointed mostly because I wasn t able to get past the fact that Perkins is a chauvinistic pig who I hated from the beginning til the end He must have thought the fact that he later wrote a confessional about being a chauvinistic pig would make his readers forgive him or feel sorry for him, but that definitely wasn t the case for me Also, he writes like a horny 10th grader very poorly, and in the middle of discussing serious issues he feels the need to comment on the attractiveness of all the females in the room The book s saving grace is that the subject matter is interesting It s about the many years Perkins spent working for a consulting firm if I remember correctly , and his job was basically to approach the governments of poor countries and convince them to commit to building huge infrastructure projects that they couldn t afford, so they d have to take out massive loans they wouldn t be able to pay Essentially what he was doing was driving countries into debt for the benefit of the international banks and the US corporations that were funding the projects, and in this book he kind of explains how he and his cohorts were able to do it Apparently there s some dispute about the author s credibility, but I found nothing unbelievable about it I think it s probably an accurate representation of some of the ways poor countries get into debt.The only reason I m giving it 2 stars instead of 1 is because I found the topic very interesting and it s hard to find books written by people who actually participated in these activities So, in spite of its significant flaws, I still feel it s worth reading If it had been written by someone other than Perkins, it probably would ve been great.


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