August 3, 2005

Book Review: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

I just finished Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins, and I give this book my highest possible recommendation. This is not a book about atheism or religion, but it is a book about how the world works. Few books have impacted me more than this one - I actually felt emotionally drained each night after I put it down.

The book is basically an autobiographical account of a man who was employed by the corporate world and sent to various developing countries to deliberately indebt these countries to the United States so that our corporate-imperalistic government (what Perkins refers to as a "corporatocracy") could enslave them. Specifically, he provided drastically overinflated economic forecasts so that huge loans from the World Bank could be justified to employ U.S. contractors (e.g., Halliburton) to build infrastructure projects in poor countries with desirable natural resources. The loans were intentionally so large that they could never be repaid, providing the U.S. government (basically owned by the multinational corporations) with leverage to move in and take the natural resources (e.g., oil).

At some level, I think that most of us realize that the world works this way. However, I was ignorant of the specific mechanics involved. I think this is the first book I have ever read that made me feel physically ill, depressed, etc. and yet determined to keep reading. Highly recommended, but will never look at the world in the same way.

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