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Find out more about this important book and the worldwide movement it has spawned at www.economichitman.comA New York Times bestseller!Read what people are saying about this book and join the conversation--visit our Confessions blog todayRead a transcript of John Perkins' recent interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!Read David Korten's review on www.dragonflymedia.comAn extraordinary, real-life tale of international intrigue and corruptionReveals 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 relationshipOne man's personal journey from eager servant of empire to impassioned advocate for the rights of oppressed peopleIn his controversial book, John Perkins 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. It was not unlike the way a loan shark operates--and Perkins and his colleagues didn't shun this kind of unsavory association. They referred to themselves as "economic hit men."This is a story of international political intrigue at the highest levels. For over a decade Perkins traveled all over the world--Indonesia, Panama, Ecuador, Columbia, Saudi Arabia, Iran--and worked with men like Panamanian president Omar Torrijos, who became a personal friend. He helped implement a secret scheme that funneled billions of Saudi petrodollars back into the U. S. economy, and that further cemented the intimate relationship between the Islamic fundamentalist House of Saud and a succession of American administrations. 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, such as the fall of the Shah of Iran and the invasions of Panama and Iraq. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, which many people urged Perkins not to write, is a blistering attack on a little-known phenomenon that has had dire consequences for both the lesser-developed countries and for American democracy.
Published: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. on
ISBN: 9781576755129
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Availability for Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
    This really opened my eyes to what happened and is condoned by our country. Very scary and realistic.
    more
    This was disturbing and a fairly good read, although Perkins' vantage point, while a scary insight into the history of globalization, is limited. He's a tool, a middle man, and doesn't have access to the conversations of those at the top or the bottom of the global pyramid. I'd have to read a lot more about this topic to have anything to say about the objectivity/subjectivity of this book.

    Perkins knows he was a materialistic loser for most of his life, so I can't really complain that reading about him often wasn't pleasant. It did particularly bother me that he felt the need to describe the appearance of most women but few men. Use "I" statements, dude - "I found her attractive, I noticed her physical characteristics." Don't assume that I, the reader, want to share your male gaze. Such assumptions aren't appropriate in nonfiction of this sort, even if it does have a political thriller feel.more
    This was a fascinating read. I had a general idea that these kind of shenanigans were going on, but the in-depth look at the mechanism was well worth it. That being said, I have the strong suspicion that the author played up his moral discomfort to a very large degree to make himself a more sympathetic character, and that leaves me less trusting of his overall account than I might have been had he seemed more genuine.more
    John Perkins takes his life into his hands and writes this book to expose the work of EHM's a new form of corporate activity and how by it Countries are forced into debt and with it put into the United States Power.
    A must read if you care about 1) high stakes whistleblowers possibly paying with their lives for disclosing the facts behind Media Generated Fiction 2) If you wish to account for National Debt Problems that are causing Financial crises causing unwanted Austerity Measures used by Power Elites to force Shock mass populaces into accepting untrammelled unregulated Free Market Ideologies. 3)If you wish to add further empirical reasons NOT to take on trust what the Media tells you. 4) another reason to protest, go green,#occupy etc.
    An eye opener. I hope guys such as him do well for themselves as they face formidable Enemies and democratically elected Latin American Presidents were assassinated by the underlings of the CIA.more
    Some interesting ideas obscured by obnoxious narrator, exaggerations of facts, hyperbole and demonization present throughout. Unreliable.more
    Everyone needs to read this book to understand that the nations governments do not run the world!more
    Great book. It show you the behind-the-scene of education and government. There is some really nasty things going on. Cross your fingers and hope for the best ;-)more
    Ultimately, this read more like a travel memoir than a startling expose. Perkins' near-constant claims of reluctance and remembered crises of conscience make him hard to take seriously as part of the system he claims to have so much knowledge of, and while i love an unreliable narrator (in fiction, anyway); a self-righteous one is more burden than pleasure, and there's not much of impact i took away here.more
    Not much to confess!This really isn't a startling confession on the inner workings of neo-imperialism if you are already aware of the conspiracy. None dare call it a conspiracy and John Perkins is one of those, numerous times in fact. The man doth protest too much in that arena. I believe everything he writes, he believes, which is why this is a must read in understanding a part of this "agenda". This is not the whole story.more
    This book deals with important issues, but it just isn't very good.One way to understand this book is as a professional memoir by an unreliable narrator. I don't mean that Perkins reports events and experiences as true that are wholly false; I can't judge that. But, if you keep independent records of your life, you may have had the experience of looking at them and realizing, by the way they depart from your memories, that you have unconsciously 'retconned' your memories to help make sense of your present. Repeatedly in this book Perkins has experiences that almost certainly did not happen the way he describes them -- he doesn't understand basic economic concepts until a pivotal figure explains them to him, well after he must have actually been exposed to them; or he feels heartsick about his work when, reading between the lines, it seems far more likely he was suffering through a breakup and is retrospectively mapping all his pain elsewhere. It's also clear from his history that Perkins is a marketer, and many of his epiphanies are positioned at just the right point in the story to reinforce his narrative, if you're not thinking too carefully about whether it makes sense for him or other characters to have said the specific things he attributes to them (or how he could possibly recall the exact words decades later). It may be that many of the passages are in some sense metaphorically true, but they certainly don't feel literally true.Another way to understand this book is as a deeply flawed effort by one man to come to terms with globalization and geopolitics around the time of the US invasion of Iraq, drawing over-heavily on what he knows from his own career consulting about development projects two decades before. It's flawed in its consistent failure to describe underlying international economic and political institutions. Perkins repeatedly asserts that the purpose of international development assistance was (at least in the late 1960s and early 1970s) to permanently sink less developed countries in coils of debt, but he never explains how the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, or various Development Banks worked, how they related to one another, or what ideologies actually motivated them. Perhaps Perkins thought his audience wouldn't want to hear these details, but by the time his story reaches the 1990s, he's conceding that the many corporate types (again, no details, no depth, no nuance) working to promote globalization around the world don't have ulterior motives; they really think they are building a better world, and it is the way their host institutions and businesses fit together that drives oppression. But that's assertion, not analysis. The hints of John Le Carre in the first chapters (recruitment by the NSA; personal moral misgivings) transform into overwrought metaphors: corporate salaries are bribes backed up by threats; Perkins isn't just a consultant, but also simultaneously an oppressor and a slave; the 'corporatocracy' is a brutal empire. This is precious, and it's hard to take it seriously when a comment from a colleague 'shakes him to the core' for the fifth time. It's also slack; the book doesn't say enough for anyone in power to care, even if he's right. A final annoyance about the book is the way every woman who shows up in the text, named or unnamed, is described as 'attractive', 'beautiful', or 'exotic'. Half are also 'fascinating'. The portrayal of women in the book -- invariably either as muses or as objects of desire -- is smarmy and unreal, and makes Perkins' narrative of redemption feel uncomfortably like a male ego trip. Given Perkins' long-standing interest in shamanism and personal spiritual growth, it's perhaps not surprising that the advice he offers in the last chapter, far from outlining how to restructure or reclaim our institutions, calls the reader to save the world through personal transformation. For my part, I'd have preferred a book that dissected institutional injustice and corruption in the international system, and offered a pragmatic but strong set of recommendations for moving the world to a better place.more
    This is like gangsta rap -- full of ridiculous fantastical bragging. Secondly it is full of self-serving grief about things bragged about that are hard to believe. "Then the jackals come." Come on. Is there something wrong with writing the truth? It might be more effective. A discredit to the cause.If you find this reinforces your existing views, because it seems to agree with them: Stop looking for ways to feed your confirmation bias, and be a little more intellectually honest.If you find this reinforces your existing views, because it fails to impress you and you disagree with his view of the world: You're still wrong, find a better book about the same subject and you might learn something.more
    Suberb, reinforces much of my current worldview on politics, economics, and businessmore
    I have met the enemy and he is us.Enlightenment on how the evil empire gets it's way in the third world.Not extremely well written, but interesting.more
    Review of “Confessions of an economic Hit Man (EHM)”

    I don’t exactly remember which of my friends and/or acquaintances told me to read this book in the first place, and like always I added this book to my “to be read” list and decided to wait whenever it’s turn comes up in the my list.

    Initially I had reservations reading this book. For a guy like me who had none whatsoever background of accounting & economics, words like Economic Hit Man were totally intimidating. My first reaction to the title was of fear. It appeared daunting and a bit of too subjective to read. It is not clear to me, what made me read this book – my internal ability to push myself to do new (read weird) things and keep myself open (read vulnerable) to everything or my ability to torture myself with most awkward things in life just because I want to see myself as strong (read Mighty STRONG) or just random curiosity. But whatever it was, I can’t thank it enough for making me read this book and completing it till the very end.

    John Perkins writes very candidly about his life, his geographically widespread professional entourage, turbulent personal accidents and of all the stories which his experience brought to him. The book started with a confused and a not clear note, which is acceptable given the fact that the reader should be able to put things in “his perspective” rather than putting things in “author’s perspective”.

    At first I guessed that this book would be a fable of some economic blunders made in the US economy and some of its “free trade partners” in this global economy, but to my surprise this book contained that and much more.

    The way John passes through countries through countries and explains tirelessly about what MAIN Corporation stands for and how MAIN reaped him in, intertwined with the notion of personal life as well is nothing short of indescribable. Earlier just professional and later his personal experiences started to revolve around MAIN’ strategy to expand the global empire and meeting to my realms of understanding, this thirst of oil continues to evade US supported MAIN from one continent to another. Horrifying examples of Ecuador, Panama, Indonesia, and Canal country are meant to open the eyes of the readers and the masses (by a long shot though) to the corporate bureaucracy. The author coined a new term out of it, which is interesting too. The book clearly shows that the oldest democracy in the world has outlawed all the international laws (the experience stories about Vietnam and Iraq war), nullified all the popular democracy movements in the targeted countries (for e.g. Canal), CIA assassinations imprints (for example, murder of Roduge) all over the books, colossal amount of national debts incurred to these countries in lieu of providing foreign aid for building infrastructure ( such as highways, dams, power plants, oil plants and many more), loss of national freedom, and many similar activities. Why this book & its controversial experiences seem to me as different is a good question that I am asking myself, way before even I thought I would write a review about it.

    Big fish still eats the small fish. A mightier country today dictates the smaller country by means money (read foreign aid), technology transfer (read lobbying for concessions and army base) and sometimes war (read US supported army coup). Oil thirst seems to overtake everything else in the world and on this planet. NOTHING stands in front it. The fact that first EHMs are sent to a country to investigate and prepare the ground to a new country and if that fails, the jackals are sent shows the pinch of might these bigger conglomerates have over you and my daily affairs.

    Each one of us likes to think that I am free and I am equal as guaranteed by the constitution (this is usually true for most of the countries, irrespective of where you belong to and from where you are reading this), but in the bigger picture, these big money earning and oil thirsty juggernauts will destroy the very fundamental of freedom by enslaving everyone of us with their products, services and money.

    To our greatest fear, even today the imperialism prevails. It really doesn’t matter that which nation you are reading this entry from, but it matters what history you nation has and most importantly what it is going through now. Imperialism as we knew it, ended ages ago. Now you don’t see geographically spread colonies and rampant human slavery, but you see huge national debts of countries once rich with natural resources, now we don’t see blacks and browns tortured because of their skin color (partly thanks to the system and partly to education that let’s everyone to be seen as equals), but we see good people like John Perkins working as EHM and helping to create global empires for the countries like this one on the expense of so many others.

    more
    This is a very interesting and rather disturbing book. Events and behavior described in it can surprise only those folks that never (and I mean never) took time to see what is going in the world – again, not through the eyes of the current politicians and/or [current] public opinion but through some sort of independent research on their own (reading history is always good way to start). As I said it is nothing new, as long as there is lust for power and more fortune there will always be people subjugating other people – technology and technique are only things that change.Fortunately information age is here and modern (wo)man can access wide variety of topics and issues by simply browsing the web – this brought what author calls “leaking of the truth” and connect-the-dots effect (again using those dots at the disposal : ) – by no means insufficient amount of data). This differs greatly from time when it took months (if not years) for news to arrive from one place to another or time when people were mostly illiterate and depended upon others for interpretation.How we move from here is now entirely up to us (as a society). Hopefully we will move in the right direction.Great book, narrative reminds me of Paul Erdman’s “Crash of ’79” (both were financial experts and I think both knew very well what is going on in the world – one choose fiction and other one chose biography to describe what is going on).more
    I read this for our book group. Jade suggested it, she's an accountant. I have to admit I found it really easy to read, and not at all dry at all. I just didn't really believe the guy. I"m not sure why. But for some reason I just didn't believe his story. Yes I believed that people did all this, but I'm not sure that it was recruited by the government. Still maybe it was.more
    Confessions of an Economic Hit Man - what can I say? I think it's a good book for mainstream culture to read. Not that the writing is great, but the message is a good one to hear. John Perkins comes across as making himself sound like he's really tough without really backing up that posturing with stories that support. Obviously, there's a difference between a "traditional" hit man and an economic one. Yet, Perkins seems to feel he's just as tough. Beyond that, his sacrifices to push aside all the money he was making doesn't seem that severe when he was likely walking away with more money than the average citizen sees in their lifetimes. When you consider the state of the people he writes about, it's more than likely that whole towns don't see that type of money during a generation.Anyway, even though the writing is a little rough and I thought his personality was a little grating, it could be worth a read to those not already aware of many of the atrocities are country perpetrates on others.Still, Noam Chomsky or Howard Zinn do a better job of writing and educating. If you sincerely want to open your eyes, pick up something by one of them (I like Zinn better personally).more
    I read this book just before With Malice And Forethought. I knew things like this happened in the world so for me it didn't really provide any new insights. I wish that Perkins had of actually provided real names, but I guess there are legal issues involved and the protagonists in his book would have probably seen their real names in a harsh and unkind light. Apart from no real names, the book is an exploratory examination of the career of someone who has been groomed into becoming a master manipulator. Of course that is what big corporate America and European interests want. The flow of money is highly interesting in that Corp A offers Country A infrastructure at some price plus interest rate. All the money goes back to Corp A through itself and its subs. Once the interest can't be paid on the loan, then Corp A lever Country A for natural resources, reductions in pricing, etc. to take a market advantage. Meanwhile, Country A starves itself into submission and the only winner is Corp A, because poor people can't buy cars to use on the roads or appliances to use electricity. We live in a pretty ugly world and this book explains some of its workings.more
    Great readA real eye opener!more
    Fascinating - machinations of US foreign policy in a number of third world countriesmore
    An autobiography of an ignorant American acting as an LDC development economist and planner in the Seventies. Part John Grisham's devil's apprentice, part tourist memoir, the book tells the story of a poor upstart being instrumentalized by a consulting firm to further the interest of US companies in LDC's. These were the anything goes days of development economics. Under the idea that the only growth ingredient missing was capital (dams, highways, etc.), the Western firms supplied the big toys and left the poor countries with the bill when their theory failed.Despite his travels to Ecuador,Panama, Columbia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Boston Public Library, his knowledge about the world remains extremely limited. I was continuously amazed what trivial things amazed him. Facts and theories being beyond his grasp, he reverts to wild conspiracy theories and simple but wrong ideas. The old canard that terrorism was caused by exploitation is unearthed again. If this were even remotely true, the US would be reeling from South American attacks. A quick look at terrorist biographies from Che to Osama reveals their privileged backgrounds.Apart from a portrait of an incredibly vain and ignorant man, there is nothing shocking or revealing in this book.more
    Most of the book is quite depressing, telling stories of government and corporate atrocities. But the last section is quite uplifting in offering hope for change, specific actions we can take to promote change, and lists of organizations working for change.more
    In short, I have never read a book that is more self-indulging in my life. Basically, Perkins spent the majority of his adult life working for firms that make billions of dollars guaranteeing loans for poor countries that will never be able to pay them back, all the while funneling the money back into the major corporations that support his consulting firm. He spends the majority of the piece explaining how guilty he felt for his involvement with the rape of nations, which includes work in Panama and Ecuador, and that he wanted to write this book since the early 80's(In fact,he admits to taking bribes of 500,000 usd to not write the book in the 1990s). However,he continued to work for these firms, stating that he felt too threatened to leave the jobs. Personally, i think the extremely high wage and lifestyle certainly played a role.Overall, the book follows a cycle: Perkins goes to a country, becomes one with the locals who show him the darker side of the nation that he is attempting to guarentee deals with, he then realizes the error of his ways and feels guilt ridden, but continues his work. Odd... so guilt ridden he continued to attempt to guarentee deals for the American Corporations. In fact, you can't help but feel that his "Confession" has more to do with capitalizing and making more money off his career. The book has been a best seller, and reportly is going to be made into a movie. No word yet on if he plans to donate the proceeds...more
    International consultant bribes and blackmails foreign powers into debt, then uses leverage to further corporate, intelligence, & military interests. Written as a memoir, but probably mostly fiction. Abysmally poor writing skills, but still interesting to consider that this might be happening to some extent.more
    I hated this book. Finishing it was painful. Perkins clearly has a point to make: if you miss it the first time, don't worry, he'll say it again. And again. And then 10 times more in the next chapter. Basically it goes like this: "What I and other economic hit men do is terrible. We're awful people. We fly to exotic lands first class and hang out with world leaders. Because of our jobs we exploit the people of third world countries. Did I mention that I spent time with world leaders? Let me tell you how cool it was the time I hung out with Fidel Castro." And repeat.more
    john perkins is a john JERKINS that doesnt respond to emails but instead employs his niece to send automated responses telling people he doesnt respond to emails and that she does it for him.more
    Nice blend of total fiction and egomaniacal delusions of grandeur mixed with the more factual history of CIA involvement in the affairs of developing countries. Required reading for a class in graduate school. Probably the worst book I've ever had to read for a class.more
    Read all 38 reviews

    Reviews

    This really opened my eyes to what happened and is condoned by our country. Very scary and realistic.
    more
    This was disturbing and a fairly good read, although Perkins' vantage point, while a scary insight into the history of globalization, is limited. He's a tool, a middle man, and doesn't have access to the conversations of those at the top or the bottom of the global pyramid. I'd have to read a lot more about this topic to have anything to say about the objectivity/subjectivity of this book.

    Perkins knows he was a materialistic loser for most of his life, so I can't really complain that reading about him often wasn't pleasant. It did particularly bother me that he felt the need to describe the appearance of most women but few men. Use "I" statements, dude - "I found her attractive, I noticed her physical characteristics." Don't assume that I, the reader, want to share your male gaze. Such assumptions aren't appropriate in nonfiction of this sort, even if it does have a political thriller feel.more
    This was a fascinating read. I had a general idea that these kind of shenanigans were going on, but the in-depth look at the mechanism was well worth it. That being said, I have the strong suspicion that the author played up his moral discomfort to a very large degree to make himself a more sympathetic character, and that leaves me less trusting of his overall account than I might have been had he seemed more genuine.more
    John Perkins takes his life into his hands and writes this book to expose the work of EHM's a new form of corporate activity and how by it Countries are forced into debt and with it put into the United States Power.
    A must read if you care about 1) high stakes whistleblowers possibly paying with their lives for disclosing the facts behind Media Generated Fiction 2) If you wish to account for National Debt Problems that are causing Financial crises causing unwanted Austerity Measures used by Power Elites to force Shock mass populaces into accepting untrammelled unregulated Free Market Ideologies. 3)If you wish to add further empirical reasons NOT to take on trust what the Media tells you. 4) another reason to protest, go green,#occupy etc.
    An eye opener. I hope guys such as him do well for themselves as they face formidable Enemies and democratically elected Latin American Presidents were assassinated by the underlings of the CIA.more
    Some interesting ideas obscured by obnoxious narrator, exaggerations of facts, hyperbole and demonization present throughout. Unreliable.more
    Everyone needs to read this book to understand that the nations governments do not run the world!more
    Great book. It show you the behind-the-scene of education and government. There is some really nasty things going on. Cross your fingers and hope for the best ;-)more
    Ultimately, this read more like a travel memoir than a startling expose. Perkins' near-constant claims of reluctance and remembered crises of conscience make him hard to take seriously as part of the system he claims to have so much knowledge of, and while i love an unreliable narrator (in fiction, anyway); a self-righteous one is more burden than pleasure, and there's not much of impact i took away here.more
    Not much to confess!This really isn't a startling confession on the inner workings of neo-imperialism if you are already aware of the conspiracy. None dare call it a conspiracy and John Perkins is one of those, numerous times in fact. The man doth protest too much in that arena. I believe everything he writes, he believes, which is why this is a must read in understanding a part of this "agenda". This is not the whole story.more
    This book deals with important issues, but it just isn't very good.One way to understand this book is as a professional memoir by an unreliable narrator. I don't mean that Perkins reports events and experiences as true that are wholly false; I can't judge that. But, if you keep independent records of your life, you may have had the experience of looking at them and realizing, by the way they depart from your memories, that you have unconsciously 'retconned' your memories to help make sense of your present. Repeatedly in this book Perkins has experiences that almost certainly did not happen the way he describes them -- he doesn't understand basic economic concepts until a pivotal figure explains them to him, well after he must have actually been exposed to them; or he feels heartsick about his work when, reading between the lines, it seems far more likely he was suffering through a breakup and is retrospectively mapping all his pain elsewhere. It's also clear from his history that Perkins is a marketer, and many of his epiphanies are positioned at just the right point in the story to reinforce his narrative, if you're not thinking too carefully about whether it makes sense for him or other characters to have said the specific things he attributes to them (or how he could possibly recall the exact words decades later). It may be that many of the passages are in some sense metaphorically true, but they certainly don't feel literally true.Another way to understand this book is as a deeply flawed effort by one man to come to terms with globalization and geopolitics around the time of the US invasion of Iraq, drawing over-heavily on what he knows from his own career consulting about development projects two decades before. It's flawed in its consistent failure to describe underlying international economic and political institutions. Perkins repeatedly asserts that the purpose of international development assistance was (at least in the late 1960s and early 1970s) to permanently sink less developed countries in coils of debt, but he never explains how the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, or various Development Banks worked, how they related to one another, or what ideologies actually motivated them. Perhaps Perkins thought his audience wouldn't want to hear these details, but by the time his story reaches the 1990s, he's conceding that the many corporate types (again, no details, no depth, no nuance) working to promote globalization around the world don't have ulterior motives; they really think they are building a better world, and it is the way their host institutions and businesses fit together that drives oppression. But that's assertion, not analysis. The hints of John Le Carre in the first chapters (recruitment by the NSA; personal moral misgivings) transform into overwrought metaphors: corporate salaries are bribes backed up by threats; Perkins isn't just a consultant, but also simultaneously an oppressor and a slave; the 'corporatocracy' is a brutal empire. This is precious, and it's hard to take it seriously when a comment from a colleague 'shakes him to the core' for the fifth time. It's also slack; the book doesn't say enough for anyone in power to care, even if he's right. A final annoyance about the book is the way every woman who shows up in the text, named or unnamed, is described as 'attractive', 'beautiful', or 'exotic'. Half are also 'fascinating'. The portrayal of women in the book -- invariably either as muses or as objects of desire -- is smarmy and unreal, and makes Perkins' narrative of redemption feel uncomfortably like a male ego trip. Given Perkins' long-standing interest in shamanism and personal spiritual growth, it's perhaps not surprising that the advice he offers in the last chapter, far from outlining how to restructure or reclaim our institutions, calls the reader to save the world through personal transformation. For my part, I'd have preferred a book that dissected institutional injustice and corruption in the international system, and offered a pragmatic but strong set of recommendations for moving the world to a better place.more
    This is like gangsta rap -- full of ridiculous fantastical bragging. Secondly it is full of self-serving grief about things bragged about that are hard to believe. "Then the jackals come." Come on. Is there something wrong with writing the truth? It might be more effective. A discredit to the cause.If you find this reinforces your existing views, because it seems to agree with them: Stop looking for ways to feed your confirmation bias, and be a little more intellectually honest.If you find this reinforces your existing views, because it fails to impress you and you disagree with his view of the world: You're still wrong, find a better book about the same subject and you might learn something.more
    Suberb, reinforces much of my current worldview on politics, economics, and businessmore
    I have met the enemy and he is us.Enlightenment on how the evil empire gets it's way in the third world.Not extremely well written, but interesting.more
    Review of “Confessions of an economic Hit Man (EHM)”

    I don’t exactly remember which of my friends and/or acquaintances told me to read this book in the first place, and like always I added this book to my “to be read” list and decided to wait whenever it’s turn comes up in the my list.

    Initially I had reservations reading this book. For a guy like me who had none whatsoever background of accounting & economics, words like Economic Hit Man were totally intimidating. My first reaction to the title was of fear. It appeared daunting and a bit of too subjective to read. It is not clear to me, what made me read this book – my internal ability to push myself to do new (read weird) things and keep myself open (read vulnerable) to everything or my ability to torture myself with most awkward things in life just because I want to see myself as strong (read Mighty STRONG) or just random curiosity. But whatever it was, I can’t thank it enough for making me read this book and completing it till the very end.

    John Perkins writes very candidly about his life, his geographically widespread professional entourage, turbulent personal accidents and of all the stories which his experience brought to him. The book started with a confused and a not clear note, which is acceptable given the fact that the reader should be able to put things in “his perspective” rather than putting things in “author’s perspective”.

    At first I guessed that this book would be a fable of some economic blunders made in the US economy and some of its “free trade partners” in this global economy, but to my surprise this book contained that and much more.

    The way John passes through countries through countries and explains tirelessly about what MAIN Corporation stands for and how MAIN reaped him in, intertwined with the notion of personal life as well is nothing short of indescribable. Earlier just professional and later his personal experiences started to revolve around MAIN’ strategy to expand the global empire and meeting to my realms of understanding, this thirst of oil continues to evade US supported MAIN from one continent to another. Horrifying examples of Ecuador, Panama, Indonesia, and Canal country are meant to open the eyes of the readers and the masses (by a long shot though) to the corporate bureaucracy. The author coined a new term out of it, which is interesting too. The book clearly shows that the oldest democracy in the world has outlawed all the international laws (the experience stories about Vietnam and Iraq war), nullified all the popular democracy movements in the targeted countries (for e.g. Canal), CIA assassinations imprints (for example, murder of Roduge) all over the books, colossal amount of national debts incurred to these countries in lieu of providing foreign aid for building infrastructure ( such as highways, dams, power plants, oil plants and many more), loss of national freedom, and many similar activities. Why this book & its controversial experiences seem to me as different is a good question that I am asking myself, way before even I thought I would write a review about it.

    Big fish still eats the small fish. A mightier country today dictates the smaller country by means money (read foreign aid), technology transfer (read lobbying for concessions and army base) and sometimes war (read US supported army coup). Oil thirst seems to overtake everything else in the world and on this planet. NOTHING stands in front it. The fact that first EHMs are sent to a country to investigate and prepare the ground to a new country and if that fails, the jackals are sent shows the pinch of might these bigger conglomerates have over you and my daily affairs.

    Each one of us likes to think that I am free and I am equal as guaranteed by the constitution (this is usually true for most of the countries, irrespective of where you belong to and from where you are reading this), but in the bigger picture, these big money earning and oil thirsty juggernauts will destroy the very fundamental of freedom by enslaving everyone of us with their products, services and money.

    To our greatest fear, even today the imperialism prevails. It really doesn’t matter that which nation you are reading this entry from, but it matters what history you nation has and most importantly what it is going through now. Imperialism as we knew it, ended ages ago. Now you don’t see geographically spread colonies and rampant human slavery, but you see huge national debts of countries once rich with natural resources, now we don’t see blacks and browns tortured because of their skin color (partly thanks to the system and partly to education that let’s everyone to be seen as equals), but we see good people like John Perkins working as EHM and helping to create global empires for the countries like this one on the expense of so many others.

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    This is a very interesting and rather disturbing book. Events and behavior described in it can surprise only those folks that never (and I mean never) took time to see what is going in the world – again, not through the eyes of the current politicians and/or [current] public opinion but through some sort of independent research on their own (reading history is always good way to start). As I said it is nothing new, as long as there is lust for power and more fortune there will always be people subjugating other people – technology and technique are only things that change.Fortunately information age is here and modern (wo)man can access wide variety of topics and issues by simply browsing the web – this brought what author calls “leaking of the truth” and connect-the-dots effect (again using those dots at the disposal : ) – by no means insufficient amount of data). This differs greatly from time when it took months (if not years) for news to arrive from one place to another or time when people were mostly illiterate and depended upon others for interpretation.How we move from here is now entirely up to us (as a society). Hopefully we will move in the right direction.Great book, narrative reminds me of Paul Erdman’s “Crash of ’79” (both were financial experts and I think both knew very well what is going on in the world – one choose fiction and other one chose biography to describe what is going on).more
    I read this for our book group. Jade suggested it, she's an accountant. I have to admit I found it really easy to read, and not at all dry at all. I just didn't really believe the guy. I"m not sure why. But for some reason I just didn't believe his story. Yes I believed that people did all this, but I'm not sure that it was recruited by the government. Still maybe it was.more
    Confessions of an Economic Hit Man - what can I say? I think it's a good book for mainstream culture to read. Not that the writing is great, but the message is a good one to hear. John Perkins comes across as making himself sound like he's really tough without really backing up that posturing with stories that support. Obviously, there's a difference between a "traditional" hit man and an economic one. Yet, Perkins seems to feel he's just as tough. Beyond that, his sacrifices to push aside all the money he was making doesn't seem that severe when he was likely walking away with more money than the average citizen sees in their lifetimes. When you consider the state of the people he writes about, it's more than likely that whole towns don't see that type of money during a generation.Anyway, even though the writing is a little rough and I thought his personality was a little grating, it could be worth a read to those not already aware of many of the atrocities are country perpetrates on others.Still, Noam Chomsky or Howard Zinn do a better job of writing and educating. If you sincerely want to open your eyes, pick up something by one of them (I like Zinn better personally).more
    I read this book just before With Malice And Forethought. I knew things like this happened in the world so for me it didn't really provide any new insights. I wish that Perkins had of actually provided real names, but I guess there are legal issues involved and the protagonists in his book would have probably seen their real names in a harsh and unkind light. Apart from no real names, the book is an exploratory examination of the career of someone who has been groomed into becoming a master manipulator. Of course that is what big corporate America and European interests want. The flow of money is highly interesting in that Corp A offers Country A infrastructure at some price plus interest rate. All the money goes back to Corp A through itself and its subs. Once the interest can't be paid on the loan, then Corp A lever Country A for natural resources, reductions in pricing, etc. to take a market advantage. Meanwhile, Country A starves itself into submission and the only winner is Corp A, because poor people can't buy cars to use on the roads or appliances to use electricity. We live in a pretty ugly world and this book explains some of its workings.more
    Great readA real eye opener!more
    Fascinating - machinations of US foreign policy in a number of third world countriesmore
    An autobiography of an ignorant American acting as an LDC development economist and planner in the Seventies. Part John Grisham's devil's apprentice, part tourist memoir, the book tells the story of a poor upstart being instrumentalized by a consulting firm to further the interest of US companies in LDC's. These were the anything goes days of development economics. Under the idea that the only growth ingredient missing was capital (dams, highways, etc.), the Western firms supplied the big toys and left the poor countries with the bill when their theory failed.Despite his travels to Ecuador,Panama, Columbia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Boston Public Library, his knowledge about the world remains extremely limited. I was continuously amazed what trivial things amazed him. Facts and theories being beyond his grasp, he reverts to wild conspiracy theories and simple but wrong ideas. The old canard that terrorism was caused by exploitation is unearthed again. If this were even remotely true, the US would be reeling from South American attacks. A quick look at terrorist biographies from Che to Osama reveals their privileged backgrounds.Apart from a portrait of an incredibly vain and ignorant man, there is nothing shocking or revealing in this book.more
    Most of the book is quite depressing, telling stories of government and corporate atrocities. But the last section is quite uplifting in offering hope for change, specific actions we can take to promote change, and lists of organizations working for change.more
    In short, I have never read a book that is more self-indulging in my life. Basically, Perkins spent the majority of his adult life working for firms that make billions of dollars guaranteeing loans for poor countries that will never be able to pay them back, all the while funneling the money back into the major corporations that support his consulting firm. He spends the majority of the piece explaining how guilty he felt for his involvement with the rape of nations, which includes work in Panama and Ecuador, and that he wanted to write this book since the early 80's(In fact,he admits to taking bribes of 500,000 usd to not write the book in the 1990s). However,he continued to work for these firms, stating that he felt too threatened to leave the jobs. Personally, i think the extremely high wage and lifestyle certainly played a role.Overall, the book follows a cycle: Perkins goes to a country, becomes one with the locals who show him the darker side of the nation that he is attempting to guarentee deals with, he then realizes the error of his ways and feels guilt ridden, but continues his work. Odd... so guilt ridden he continued to attempt to guarentee deals for the American Corporations. In fact, you can't help but feel that his "Confession" has more to do with capitalizing and making more money off his career. The book has been a best seller, and reportly is going to be made into a movie. No word yet on if he plans to donate the proceeds...more
    International consultant bribes and blackmails foreign powers into debt, then uses leverage to further corporate, intelligence, & military interests. Written as a memoir, but probably mostly fiction. Abysmally poor writing skills, but still interesting to consider that this might be happening to some extent.more
    I hated this book. Finishing it was painful. Perkins clearly has a point to make: if you miss it the first time, don't worry, he'll say it again. And again. And then 10 times more in the next chapter. Basically it goes like this: "What I and other economic hit men do is terrible. We're awful people. We fly to exotic lands first class and hang out with world leaders. Because of our jobs we exploit the people of third world countries. Did I mention that I spent time with world leaders? Let me tell you how cool it was the time I hung out with Fidel Castro." And repeat.more
    john perkins is a john JERKINS that doesnt respond to emails but instead employs his niece to send automated responses telling people he doesnt respond to emails and that she does it for him.more
    Nice blend of total fiction and egomaniacal delusions of grandeur mixed with the more factual history of CIA involvement in the affairs of developing countries. Required reading for a class in graduate school. Probably the worst book I've ever had to read for a class.more
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