Friday, March 14, 2014

A book review of the confession of the economic Hitman by JOHN PERKINS

By Saeed Mashaal Bhatti (MPhil Sociology)

1.     By understanding our past mistakes we will be able to take advantage of our future opportunities.
2.     For the first time in history, one nation has the ability, the money, and the power to change all this, the United States of America.
3.     John Perkins started and stopped writing Confessions of an Economic Hit Man four times over 20 years. He says he was threatened and bribed in an effort to kill the project, but after 9/11 he finally decided to go through with this expose of his former professional life.
4.     Motivation from her only child Jessica
1.     “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” is the autobiography of John Perkins.  It tells of how he spent the 1970s and 80s as a self-proclaimed “Economic Hitman”.  He recounts what led him to his position and then his years of service to the Main consulting company in Boston.  He contends that his position for these many years was to go into third-world countries (only if they have natural resources to exploit) and recommend them for large loans from the World Bank for infrastructure improvements.  The condition on the loans is that American companies (especially those contracted by Main) be hired to do the work.  In this way, the countries become indebted to the U.S. even though all the money has gone into the hands of American companies.  This system, he contends, makes the few in power of these countries rich, further impoverishes the rest of the populace and enslaves the nation to the American “corporatocracy”.  This tale of corruption was disturbing though not entirely shocking.  The shocking part is his claim that he knew full-well what he was guilty of yet he continued to do it for years.
2.     John Perkins traveled all over the world--Indonesia, Panama, Ecuador, Columbia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, he tells the gripping tale of the years he spent working for an international consulting firm where his job was to convince underdeveloped countries to accept enormous loans, much bigger than they really needed, for infrastructure development--and to make sure that the development projects were contracted to U. S. multinationals. Once these countries were saddled with huge debts, the American government and the international aid agencies allied with it were able, by dictating repayment terms, to essentially control their economies.
3.     Perkins' story illuminates just how far economic hit men were willing to go, and unveils the real causes of some of the most dramatic developments in recent history, he reveals the hidden mechanics of imperial control behind such major international events as the fall of the Shah, the death of Panamanian president Omar Torrijos, and the invasions of Panama and Iraq, as well as providing an inside view of the corrupt U.S.-Saudi Arabian relationship
4.     Perkins gets it mostly right when he describes the system of “tied” foreign aid, in which recipient countries are obligated to spend the money they receive on goods and services from the donor country.
1.     Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is very interesting and it does stir up thoughts about the morality of corporations and the concerns of people in developing countries, maybe even thoughts about how to save the world.
2.     The only redeeming quality about this book is that it gives some solid and reasonable explanation to the complaints about globalization voiced by the stinky hippies and ultra left in America. Basically, explaining that first world countries engage in predatory lending to developing nations.
1.     A confession is that it was lacking a moral.  Perkins more or less blamed his own self-admitted muted conscience on his upbringing.  He said that it twisted him, and that love of money allowed him to take the job.  However, he really never says that what he did was openly wrong or immoral. Though if pressed, he would probably admit that he was wrong.
2.     He became a polemic against the Republican Party and oil companies.  He praised the Carter administration, and then accused Reagan of being concerned mostly about the interests of the “corporatocracy”.  The harshest criticism was saved for George H.W. Bush whom he claimed was a leader in the corruption.  He even attacks George W. Bush, but interestingly enough makes no mention whatsoever of the Clinton administration.  This sort of gives away his agenda.
3.      He claims that the world is corrupt at this very deep level but doesn’t seem to think it fixable.  In fact, he says he sold his startup energy company to Ashland Oil.  Ultimately the book projects a sense of hopelessness.

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