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Confessions of an Economic Hit Man Paperback – December 27, 2005
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Perkins writes that his economic projections cooked the books Enron-style to convince foreign governments to accept billions of dollars of loans from the World Bank and other institutions to build dams, airports, electric grids, and other infrastructure he knew they couldn't afford. The loans were given on condition that construction and engineering contracts went to U.S. companies. Often, the money would simply be transferred from one bank account in Washington, D.C., to another one in New York or San Francisco. The deals were smoothed over with bribes for foreign officials, but it was the taxpayers in the foreign countries who had to pay back the loans. When their governments couldn't do so, as was often the case, the U.S. or its henchmen at the World Bank or International Monetary Fund would step in and essentially place the country in trusteeship, dictating everything from its spending budget to security agreements and even its United Nations votes. It was, Perkins writes, a clever way for the U.S. to expand its "empire" at the expense of Third World citizens. While at times he seems a little overly focused on conspiracies, perhaps that's not surprising considering the life he's led. --Alex Roslin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
From my perspective, it all seems to add up. I lived in Ecuador in the 80s. I was young (18), and I didn't know much about politics at the time. I personally saw many of the projects that Perkins speaks of in this book. I heard the complaints from my Ecuadorian friends about how the U.S. was bankrupting their economy by "loaning" money for extensive construction projects. I saw the jungle along Rio Napo being deforested by unknown (to me) companies. I spent time in oil towns in the jungle -- like Shell. I saw the dam that Perkins speaks of in his book.
The only way to gather proof about the truthfulness of his claims is to see it first hand. Though I seriously doubt that most of us have the guts to travel to the places where these things happen. Denial, regarding these issues, seems terribly naive.
In this book, written in spurts since the early 1980s, Perkins really does tell it like it is. This is the book I have been waiting for, the book that fills in the blanks left behind by the writers of global theories, the book that tells us how it really happens. It is one thing to read that the United States engineered ousters of democratically-elected leaders who did not do the bidding of our corporations. It is another to read of the actual steps that led to these actions. As one who likes to be able to visualize all the steps, I found great comfort in reading a well-written personal story that allows me to do this.
In this rightly-named confession, Perkins puts on his hair shirt and chastises himself as he explains how he gave in to temptation again and again over several decades, while he worked to build an American corporation's profits at the expense of third-world countries. He does not describe in detail the benefits he accrued from being Satan's handyman. We do not hear stories of his exploits with women, of his flaunting his power, the meat of a LifeTime movie. These fruits of his labor are glossed over in favor of greater descriptions of the occasional pangs of conscience.
Take it as a given, then, that Perkins was right for the job of economic hit man because he was so easily tempted by material wealth, power, and adulation.Read more ›
Part of the book tells of his own experiences, generating false predictions and both giving and receiving bribes. The other part is a history of the role that US corporations (and, more subtly, the US government) play in eliminating hostile but strategically important leaders of developing countries and co-opting their nations' resources. (Those same leaders, hostile to US business, are often the champions of the poor in their countries.)
The history this book provides opened my eyes and made me want to read more on the subject. Thankfully, Perkins also provides extensive references for those who would like to read more on this, both providing an avenue for the curious reader and showing that he isn't the only witness to the new imperialism. The last few pages of the book also provide some practical suggestions for a reader to "do something" (and refuse to absolve us of collective guilt).
On the other hand, while the book claims to be a confession, massive page space is dedicated to Perkins's misgivings about what he was doing as he was doing it, to the point that it really feels like he's trying to let us know that he's not that bad a guy. That tone and the amount of time dedicated to it really wore me down as a reader. (Okay, okay, you were really torn, I get it.)
But overall, this was well worth the time, and I only hope I can carry some of its lessons with me.
Note: Although many other books have been written about how U.S. aid policy has been used as a means of manipulating foreign countries, the fact remains that John Perkin's book is from an insiders perspective. It exposes the truth behind how corporate greed has hijacked U.S. Foreign Policy. You can find many more books on the facts and history but for a sound, engaging critique read it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book and really opens your eyes at how the world works and has worked. I can't wait to start reading the next book in this series.Published 2 days ago by Ryan W
This is the story of a man who knows how it all works, and wants to change the way the world is rushing toward a Global Empire with its web of economic and political connections... Read morePublished 10 days ago by katherine tomlinson
I love this book so happy to get in touch with all information. It is scary on some way so i will rate this book PG-35 :-))))) I red many books same subject, in the beginning i was... Read morePublished 25 days ago by Boston
It is a twisted narrative intended to pander to liberal politicians. Certainly many of the events described occurred, but not with the intent applied by the author. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Rand McGreal
Highly interesting topic in times of globalisation. Written in an excellent way, page turnerPublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
After reading this book, this work gave me a totally new perspective on the halcyon period of my life growing up in Jakarta, Indonesia in the early 1980's. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Sonny Laskin