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The Blood Bankers: Tales from the Global Underground Economy Paperback – June 30, 2005

4.9 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

An attorney, former chief economist for McKinsey & Co., and vice president for strategy for IBM/Lotus, James S. Henry is also an investigative journalist who has written for many publications, including The New Republic, New York Times, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, and many other magazines and newspapers. One of the original "Nader Raiders," he is founder and managing director of the Sag Harbor Group (www.sagharbor.com), a strategy consulting firm with a special focus on technology strategy and business development. He has managed projects on a wide variety of competitive strategy issues for many global companies, including AT&T, GE, GM, IBM/ Lotus, Merrill Lynch, and the Samsung Group. He also serves as an advisor and board member of Peoplink.org, a nonprofit that focuses on bringing the benefits of e-commerce to developing countries, and an advisor to Ashoka, a "reverse Peace Corps" that sponsors more than 1500 fellows working on social and environmental issues in 30 developing countries. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, a member of the New York Bar, and received a master's degree in economics from the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Reprint edition (June 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560257156
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560257158
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #446,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. J. C. Roeber on February 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
We have heard much about the crisis of third world debt and what to do about it from liberal ("forgive the debt") and right-wing ("bankrupt the suckers") commentators. James Henry asks a more fundamental question, where did the money go? Why is there so little to show for the more than $2.7 trillion of debt, aid, and investment made available to the developing world since the 1970s? One answer is that it was not spent but stolen and wasted, maybe as little as one-third of it ending up on the ground. Much of the rest has gone to provide the political elites of recipient countries with retirement homes in pleasant places.
Henry, a lawyer and economist by training and an investigative journalist by avocation, has been working on this story since the late 1980s. He travelled to more than 50 countries in pursuit of it and his book contains original, first-hand accounts of decades of unscrupulous financial behavior in the Philippines, Brazil, Nicaragua, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Mexico.
What started off as an economist's enquiry into the paradox of third world debt has ended up as an indictment of the first world corporations that helped to create it. Henry tells how many of the world's leading banks and financial groups have, often with the complicity of their governments and supranational institutions, created and fuelled the new high-growth global markets for dirty debt, capital flight, money laundering, tax evasion, corruption, illicit weapons traffic, and other new transnational forms of dubious economic activity.
This is an essential book. Corruption is the scandal of third world debt. Attempts to relieve it must include the means to prevent its happening again.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a Latin American scholar. Henry's well-written book manages to get below the surface, and deliver some amazing new revelations about Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, in particular. I was also interested to find out exactly where Paraguay's General Stroessner, the Phillipines' Marcos, Pakistan's Bhutto, Zaire's Mobutu, and quite a few other Third World thugs kept their foreign loot -- and not only in Switzerland! Not easy reading, but it will definitely change your perspective on the global economy....
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Format: Hardcover
"The Blood Bankers" is an important contribution to our understanding of global financial instability. Most often, liberalized (legitimate) capital markets, international trade, state power, and international regulatory institutions are cited as the causes of destabilization. However, J. Henry allows us to look behind these forces and bodies to see how the liberalization of the global economy has unleashed illicit and/ or immoral financial forces, often acting through otherwise legitimate enterprises. Thus, "The Blood Bankers" gives us another level of understanding and critique of the agents of globalization. Without understanding the underground players, it would be impossible to fully understand the instability of modern international markets.
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Format: Hardcover
Blood Bankers sets out to answer the question, "What has happened that over the last 30 years the industrialized countries of the world have loaned $3 trillion ($3,000,000,000,000) -ostensibly for the benefit of the underdeveloped countries of the world- and, without question, the latter are substantially worse off than they were 30 years ago?" Very often the effects that he reports are not marginal failures, but catastrophic results, that he rigorously illustrates in the book. Worse, the failures are not a collection of accidents, scattered ethical failures, or the like.
Jim's book is a treasure of facts and speculative plots for any citizen of the world seriously concerned with exploring and then grounding his or her ethical claims for a different global convivencia - way of being together and engaging with the others in our daily lives-. The book brings, through a rich and engaging set of well-researched stories, a context for understanding the role played by a system of major institutions in crafting the failures and financial scandals that often appear as scattered and disconnected news in the media. He draws a clear picture of a sustained pattern of behaviors, practices, interpretations, institutionalized systems and ways of thinking and working that are embedded in worldwide economic institutions, investment banks, governments, the great construction companies of the world, major equipments vendors, that create exactly the right situation for growing the behaviors that bring and sustain these results.
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Format: Hardcover
The Blood Bankers:Tales from the Global Underground Economy is a non-fiction financial thriller/whodunit that illuminates the sordid, self-serving, elitist international money trail and the greedy creatures who travel shamelessly on it. Mr. Henry courageously lifts the veil of monetary indecency and carefully guarded fiscal secrecy as he takes the reader on an insider's guided tour of global corruption and greed. Truth is indeed, stranger than fiction and The Blood Bankers is a shocking account of unbridled greed, run wild in plain sight around the world. It features a virtual perp walk of duplicitous international bankers, beyond-corrupt politicans and heads of state, and a whole supporting cast of money launderers, corporate con men and underworld predators. If you're ready to lose your intellectual virginity, read this book. The world will never look the same.
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