Sun 23 Jul 2006
I just finished a great book, Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins. While it is certainly not news to me that the US government generally acts at the behest of an uberpowerful oligarchy who calls the shots, it is another thing entirely to hear it straight from the horses mouth.
In an interview with Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman, Perkins explained the term, “Economic Hit Man.”
JOHN PERKINS: We economic hit men, during the last 30 or 40 years, have really created the world’s first truly global empire, and we’ve done this primarily through economics, and the military only coming in as a last resort. Therefore, it’s been done pretty much secretly. Most of the people in the United States have no idea that we’ve created this empire and, in fact, throughout the world it’s been done very quietly, unlike old empires, where the army marched in; it was obvious. So I think the significance of the things you discussed, the fact that over 80% of the population of South America recently voted in an anti-U.S. president and what’s going on at the World Trade Organization, and also, in fact, with the transit strike here in New York, is that people are beginning to understand that the middle class and the lower classes around the world are being terribly, terribly exploited by what I call the corporatocracy, which really runs this empire.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, before we move further, your experience with it? Explain the vantage point you come from. What does it mean to be an economic hit man?
JOHN PERKINS: Well, what we’ve done — we use many techniques, but probably the most common is that we’ll go to a country that has resources that our corporations covet, like oil, and we’ll arrange a huge loan to that country from an organization like the World Bank or one of its sisters, but almost all of the money goes to the U.S. corporations, not to the country itself, corporations like Bechtel and Halliburton, General Motors, General Electric, these types of organizations, and they build huge infrastructure projects in that country: power plants, highways, ports, industrial parks, things that serve the very rich and seldom even reach the poor. In fact, the poor suffer, because the loans have to be repaid, and they’re huge loans, and the repayment of them means that the poor won’t get education, health, and other social services, and the country is left holding a huge debt, by intention. We go back, we economic hit men, to this country and say, “Look, you owe us a lot of money. You can’t repay your debts, so give us a pound of flesh. Sell our oil companies your oil real cheap or vote with us at the next U.N. vote or send troops in support of ours to some place in the world such as Iraq.” And in that way, we’ve managed to build a world empire with very few people actually knowing that we’ve done this.
You can read the rest of the interview here.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It reads like a spy novel but it is chillingly real. Another thing I loved was the fact that Perkins actually started his own energy company. His inside knowledge about the energy industry really had my full attention, as I’m headed into these waters myself.
[tags] economic, hitman, WTO, IMF, books, John Perkins [/tags]