Title: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

Author: John Perkins

ISBN-13: 9780452287082

ISBN: 0452287081

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Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

Book review by Joy Hopkins

John Perkins makes a bold attempt to clear his heavy conscious in one confession after another in his book "Confessions of an Economic Hitman." In so doing, the author makes us privy to a sequence of events worthy of a twisted Alfred Hitchcock plot.

Perkins sets the stage by getting personal. He invites us into his psyche as an unhappy child in the prestigious boarding school where his parents had secured teaching positions. The reader gets the impression that Perkins endured rather than embraced the experience in boarding school. Perkins lets the reader know that he never forgot his friends on the other side of the track, with whom he attended public school prior. This dichotomy resurfaces when we learn of an adult Perkins grappling with producing economic forecasts that make western companies richer at the expense of the poor. Perkins tells of one account after another where he empathizes with the disadvantaged people he comes across throughout his travels, and yet chooses in his everyday work to side with what he calls "the Corporatacracy" who have little to no regard for those very same people.

We tend to think of aid organizations as "do gooders," but Perkins quickly debunks that theory. He introduces readers to a whole new class of players we never knew existed in this space, including the economic hitman. Perkins chronicles how he excelled in this role for several years. As an economic hitman, Perkins would create unrealistic, overly positive economic forecasts about the benefit of investments in depressed, developing economies around the world. These economic forecasts would then win the Corporatacracy several million dollar loans for construction and other projects. The loans put dollars in the pockets of western companies who would be hired to build these largely unnecessary structures, and did little to help the people that needed it the most in the countries burdened with the repayment. Perkins does not offer his opinion on alternative investments that would have benefited the disadvantaged people in these countries, but focuses exclusively on the single-minded strategy of the Corporatacracy and their malicious intentions and practices.

The need for Perkins to clear his conscious is so prevalent in the book that, at times, his presentation of real life iniquities seems to serve merely as a backdrop. Though much can be abstracted about our human nature from his unvieling of long-held secrets. Perkins presents the likes of case studies in human behavior one may encounter in Sociology 101. Even the most sinister among us should be awed and outright embarrased by the behavior carried out by our fellow human beings that Perkins details in this book. It is clear that Perkins felt victimized by the Corporatacracy that took advantage of his vulnerabilities and coerced him into a life of lies which he endured for years. He makes it no secret that he was not the only one lured into this way of life either. Perkins does not claim innocence, but through his presentation of the life he led, hopes to shed light on an unjust system, to understand it, and ultimately to engage a desire in readers to rise up against it. By the end of this astonishing story, the reader, now aware of such immense wrongdoing, is left with a feeling of wanting to take action, but not quite feeling equipped to do so given the nature of the beast Perkins so intimately portrays. It comes as no surprise that this gap is addressed as a main subject in a later book by the same author.


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