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Confessions of an Economic Hitman (EHM) by John Perkins

October 30, 2006

If ever a scary book was written this is the one. You know how you always suspected that there the economic system that we lived in was not what had been intended and that it could work so much better. Well in this very revealing book John Perkins describes his time as an EHM and how the system is skewed to benefit the few and never the many. Basically an EHM is someone who convinces countries to enter into huge national infrastructure projects which they cannot afford. A group of consultants produce reports which seem to show that the projects will encourage huge economic growth for a poor country and benefit everyone. However the loans, usually made by the US or associate, are so big and the positive consequences so minor, that the country is usually left unable to meet the debt repayments. This is not a problem, but rather the intention, because now the country is at the mercy of the US and they can be leveraged for natural resources, UN votes and a whole host of other illegitimate reasons. 

This system of global economic power was developed and refined during the 50’s and 60’s and has affected most countries around the world. Some notable examples that he personally worked on were Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ecuador and Panama. The author describes how the US tries to assert its influence over other countries in an attempt to establish a global empire. It starts with the EHM who try to force the country into a virtual slavery to US interests. Should this fail then the ‘jackals’ are sent it. These are people who will strategically assassinate, foster discontent and generally try to undermine foreign governments, regardless of their democratic credentials and attitudes to human rights. Some notable examples of where the jackals have been sent in are Panama and
Ecuador both of which lost progressive leaders to plane ‘accidents’. Should the jackals also fail then the last resort is the army. He cites 2 very current examples of this as Iraq and
Afghanistan.
 

All of this is done to further the commercial interests of the US and its huge armaments, construction and engineering companies and the rich elite that govern the country. Companies like Halliburton, Bechtel, Lockhead Martin all benefit from the system as well as obscure consultancy companies like MAIN, which the author worked for. The executives of these companies flitter between commercial and governmental work further obscuring the line between business and politics and in whose interests’ actions are taken. The overwhelming impression that you are left with at the end of the book is that the world is being plundered at an incredible rate for the benefit of a tiny minority or the super wealthy. Also however he forces you to look at your own life and think about the impacts of your decisions and actions on the world and that even tacit support for the status quo does not exclude you from responsibility. Despite the authors very murky start and all the ill that he has caused upon the world he at least is out there to make a difference now and expose the truth for what it is as well as campaign for things to be different. He set up a Ecological energy company in the early 90’s when it was not so fashionable, and now champions the causes of indigenous people around the world.

Read it, weep and then do something about it

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