Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is a book written by John Perkins and published in Berrett-Koehler Publishers; November 9, 2004, New York.
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man reveals Perkins’ activities while working as a consulting firm employee. His main task was to convince the developing countries around the globe to endorse trillions of dollars from international aids organizations for their personal development. This money was to be utilized to initiate development of various spheres of life, such as infrastructure. However, his main role was to make sure that those funds did not get where they were intended to. He was to ensure that the money finally appeared in the hands of few individuals as well as was transferred to some engineering and construction companies in the United States. He argues that these activities have taken a brand new and terrifying dimension in this era when technology has been highly advanced.
In his book Perkins gives an account of his career while working for a consulting firm Chas. T. Main located in Boston. Economic hit man is a professional who is highly paid worldwide to cheat countries in the developing world and to drain trillions of dollars out of them. The purpose of these professionals is to fuel money from the World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as well as from other international foreign aid organizations (Perkins, 2004). These huge sums of money are put into the account of large corporations as well as provided to few wealthy families. Due to the amount of money they get, they are able to control the world’s natural resources.
Perkins was working with the United States National Security Agency while being an economic hit man in the 60s and 70s. He argues that he tried to write a book many times earlier but he received several threats and was bribed to throw away the idea of writing such a book. He establishes that the fateful events of the United States bombing on 9/11 were directly stimulated by the activities of economic hit men that took place in 1970s. Hence, he decided to reveal the truth to the entire world as he explained what really went on in the world. He argues that, “As I travel around the world, I find that people know that their country just received a billion-dollar loan, for example, from the World Bank and that American corporations are there benefiting from the loan, but that their own lives are getting worse” (Perkins, 21).
According to Perkins, he was employed by the National Security Agency, which he describes as the largest and the most secretive spy organization. He worked for private organizations. Perkins records that the first economic hit man project was carried out in the early 1950s when Kermit Roosevelt, the grandson of Teddy, came into power by overthrowing the democratically elected government of Iran (Perkins, 2004). At that time, economic hit man was seen as a good idea as it enabled individuals to spend trillions of dollars to accomplish their activities. However, a decision was reached that economic hit men no longer needed to be government employees. They had to use organizations such as CIA as well as NSA. Therefore, these organizations were used to employ economic hit men, who would then be sent to work for private consulting companies. They would also work for constructions companies, as well as engineering firms, to avoid their connection with the government.
In the Chas. T. Main in Boston, which numbered about 2000 employees, he was the chief economist. However, his main target was to develop deals and convince developing countries to take loans. Notably, these loans were so huge that some countries would hardly pay them later. The country that received the loan was to pay it back together with ninety per cent of the initial loan. Upon receiving the loans, the United States’ big companies, such as Halliburton or Bechtel, would then undertake the task of building infrastructure; and the rest of the money would remain in the pockets of the wealthiest families in United States. Poor developing countries would then stick with the loans they never enjoyed. He gives an example of Ecuador, which uses half of its national budget to pay the debt.
Indeed, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is a book that sends light on the evils committed to developing countries in order to benefit few individuals. The book turns our understanding of the history upside down as it explains what really happens in the world’s economy. Therefore, people become aware of such activities that can adversely affect developing countries, especially in this era of globalization. Perkins argues that it is high time that people finally understand where their tax money goes to (Perkins, 2004). They should comprehend the foreign policies and what they entail, how the corporations work as well as how foreign aid is executed in order to demand change.
In my opinion, I believe that this book is rather good and it succeeded in its purpose to send a signal to developing countries to be aware of how they can be cheated when they receive international aid. Although Perkins was criticized for having postponed writing it four times due to threats and bribery, I view the book as one of the most informing in this century. The book can be related to the content of the course as it covers and reveals some world economic effects and how they are applied to oppress less developed countries.