Book Review: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

“From the Publisher

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man reveals a game that, according to John Perkins, is ‘as old as Empire’ but has taken on new and terrifying dimensions in an era of globalization. And Perkins should know. For many years he worked for an international consulting firm where his main job was to convince LDCs (less developed countries) around the world to accept multibillion-dollar loans for infrastructure projects and to see to it that most of this money ended up at Halliburton, Bechtel, Brown and Root, and other United States engineering and construction companies. This book, which many people warned Perkins not to write, is a blistering attack on a little-known phenomenon that has had dire consequences on both the victimized countries and the U.S.”

Happy Monday Everyone!  I had actually finished reading this book a little while back (3 months ago), but I hadn’t gotten around to posting the review.  Something about the NPR coverage of the burning oil rig offshore reminded me that I needed to 😀

As an International Relations Major, I was enthralled by this book- I also liked the book the Dictator Next Door, but that’s a bit of a different story.  It reads very easily and understandably and I applaud Mr. Perkins for having a very approachable style of writing.  This is a story that could very easily have been lost in literary neverwhere, filled with technical jargon and double speak, but the way that he just laid out the truth illustrated for me the point of the book.  It really WAS a conspiracy.

I found myself asking over and over again, why in God’s name any of these politicians would have put soooo much effort into making sure that the developing world was indebted to them forever and when Mr. Perkins began to list the monetary and corporate benefits- it did all make sense.  I have not met one person who honestly believes that there is a government in the world (our own especially) that is not corrupt and at the mercy of some large corporation and now I’ve got someone clearly spelling out the evidence to back up that feeling.

I’m going to do a bit of an about face here and also explain that I am a pretty staunch capitalist, but I do have morals and ethics and reality floating into these equations.  Making money, in my humble opinion, is not all about growth just for growths sake.  If you do not create a sustainable method for expansion (the EHM model he presented is not sustainable) then you will eventually need to come up with something new to create more wealth because you will have exhausted the resources for your original venture.  So I ultimately agree with him in calling the people behind the conspiracy evil hypocrites, but I also find myself wondering about how much of today’s global economy and development is directly related to the EMENSE amount of exploitation that Perkins and his colleagues instigated and where would we be today if they had not been so complicit?  I will now shut my S.A.T. dictionary and sign off on this sunny DC Monday Afternoon 😀

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