Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

I enrolled as a student of economics 30 years ago. I studied economics for 5 years, and later also taught economics for 6 years. Consequently, I found this mail I received this morning very interesting. I recall talking about blue-eyed young Indian MBAs doing stupendous jobs based in commodity trading houses in New York, earning astronomical sums, and through their meritorious work driving to destruction poor farmers in Africa. Or right now, in cities and towns in India, young graduates who are unable to get any other jobs work as salesmen for agencies contracted to credit card companies, pushing easy loans to whoever is in "need". There is also a whole sector specialised in loan recovery, using strong-arm techniques.

John Perkins is a former respected member of the international banking community. He describes himself as a former economic hit man. In his book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, he describes how as a highly paid professional, he helped the U.S. cheat poor countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars by lending them more money than they could possibly repay and then take over their economies.

From 1971 to 1981 Perkins worked for the international consulting firm of Chas T. Main. 20 years ago Perkins began writing a book with the working title, "Conscience of an Economic Hit Man."

Perkins writes, "The book was to be dedicated to the presidents of two countries, men who had been my clients, whom I respected and thought of as kindred spirits - Jaime Roldós, president of Ecuador, and Omar Torrijos, president of Panama. Both had just died in fiery crashes. Their deaths were not accidental. They were assassinated because they opposed that fraternity of corporate, government, and banking heads whose goal is global empire. We Economic Hit Men failed to bring Roldós and Torrijos around, and the other type of hit men, the CIA-sanctioned jackals who were always right behind us, stepped in."

John Perkins goes on to write: "I was persuaded to stop writing that book. I started it four more times during the next twenty years. On each occasion, my decision to begin again was influenced by current world events: the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1980, the first Gulf War, Somalia, and the rise of Osama bin Laden. However, threats or bribes always convinced me to stop."

But now Perkins has finally published his story.


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