Book Review: Confessions of an Economic Hitman, John Perkins

The Britishers were stealthily trumped in their own centuries-old game of possession and submission that played out on multiple scales and uprooted all semblance of –.

 
They were trumped by the United States of America. Not really long ago, just these 40 odd years, maybe more. Imperialism donned a modern garb and set about pillaging the world country by country, strategy by strategy. They relied on special men and women who initiated and carried out this deception – economic hitmen.
 
In a work that is astounding and yet is not, John Perkins attempts to come clean and confess his role in the fall of human civilization, and divulge the secrets of a certain corporatocracy. 
 
How, I asked myself, did a nice kid from rural New Hampshire ever get into such a dirty business?
 
Born in a cash starved family around the time of the second World War, the author led the life his parents talked him into, devoid of women, sex and money. He would rebel by excelling in all that he undertook.
 
When his father-in-law was promoted within NSA, he could have never known what he had coming.
 
 
 
Economic hitmen were people who were willing to look the other way as the government joined hands with the corporates to trap other relatively un-modern countries under massive debts. International funding bodies were instrumental in burdening the people while having charmed them with all the wonders that technology and development had to offer. These people were hired by international firms that worked to convince poorer countries to accept enormous developmental loans and ensure that US companies were hired for the purpose.
 
 
The fact was that I had never thought of myself as a bona fide economist. I had graduated with a bachelor of science in business administration from Boston University, emphasis on marketing. I had always been lousy in mathematics and statistics. At Middlebury College, I had majored in American Literature; writing had come easily to me. My status as chief economist and as manager of Economic and Regional Planning could not be attributed to my capabilities in either economics or planning; rather it was a function of my willingness to provide the types of studies and conclusions my bosses and clients wanted, with a natural acumen for persuading others through the written word. In addition, I was clever enough to hire very competent people, many with master’s degrees and a couple with Ph.D’s, acquiring a staff who knew a lot more about the technicalities of my business than I did. Small wonder that the author of that article concluded that “the interest and support he holds for his staff was evident and admirable.
 
 
Most senior figures were aware of one aspect of the extent of US’s operations if not in its entirety, while others were lured by money and status and all that a man could desire. The US minted money like a madman and there was nothing this money couldn’t do. Of course, so long as the dollar remained a universal currency. If any man was unaware and caught himself doubting his actions, like Perkins once did in Indonesia as he saw a woman bathe in a lake while an old man relieved himself upstream, he would assure himself that it was for the betterment of these people who did not have access to the same resources they did. There would be no Howard in the system. Any man who realized his position in the scheme was instantly relieved of it.
 
 
During those three decades, thousands of men and women participated in bringing Ecuador to the tenuous position it found itself in at the beginning of the millennium. Some of them, like me, had been aware of what they were doing but the vast majority had merely performed the tasks they had been taught in business engineering and law schools, or had followed the lead of bosses in my mold who demonstrated the system by their own greedy example and through rewards and punishments calculated to perpetuate it. Such participants saw the parts they played as benign, at worst; in the most optimistic view, they were helping an impoverished nation.
 
In such a clime, I am invariably reminded of Ayn Rand’s world of self-served bureaucracy and self annihilation in the name of ‘social welfare’ in Atlas Shrugged; it is funny how a novel written in the 50’s knew what will hit us next. Or had it already been occurring, perhaps in a different form?
 
In John’s story and Rand’s, the common good is deified and an entire empire is erected on the common man’s humped back, ruling minds and trying to reign in actions motivated by an archaic faculty of the mind called thought. In Atlas Shrugged, though, the corporate and the bureaucracy were at loggerheads while the populace perished in vermin. In the real world that the author unveils, the two forces gang up against unsuspecting, sometimes selfish starry-eyed hopefuls who die slow, painful deaths.
 
Of course, this was only the tip of how extensively the States manipulated. Political shenanigans reeked of a thirst for petrodollars and this was a thirst that is yet to subside. It took the Saudis and Iraq and Afghanistan and many other people in its folds. If EHM failed, there were the jackals, as John calls the CIA; if that failed too, there was military and muscle. Iraq is where they did. Hundreds of thousands died unspeakable deaths, on both sides.
But the USA is no longer untouched by the plague it began perpetrating once upon a time.
 
The real story is that we’re living a lie. Like my MAIN resume, we have created a veneer that hides the fatal cancers beneath the surface. Those cancers are exposed by the X-rays of our statistics which disclose the terrifying fact history’s most powerful and wealthiest empire has outrageously high rates of suicide, drug abuse divorce, child molestation, rape, and murder, and like a malignant cancer, these afflictions spread their tentacles in an ever-widening radius every year. In our hearts, each of us feels the pain. We cry out for change. Yet, we slam our fists to our mouths, stifling those cries and we go unheard.
 
The book is packed with vivid details and reference to relevant historical events. John Perkins seamlessly inks his dilemma and success and the sham he would pretend he understood. A brave piece of work. 
 
Revealing. Scandalous. True.
 
There is a hell our world is hurtling towards and you may have caught a glimpse sometimes; this is the book that will tell you the secrets.
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