Monday, March 20, 2006

BOOK REVIEW - Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
John Perkins
303 pages
Plume, 2006

I had wanted to read this book since I first heard the Democracy Now interview with John Perkins (broadcast on January 3rd.) His assertions were fascinating and really sounded as though they were 50% fantasy and 50% Machiavellian. As he spun his tale of loans through benevolent sounding groups such as USAID and how these loans would be used to saddle countries with a crushing debt load that we could then exploit I found myself torn. Perkins was clearly one of three things; a masterful storyteller who had missed his calling as the author if the next great thriller, a crackpot conspiracy theorist, or someone who knew what he was talking about. I trusted the Democracy Now crew to protect me from the second option, although occasionally I think they let one slip through just to keep me on my toes. As for the other two options? Well, they’re not necessarily mutually exclusive. As I learned as I read the book, Perkins certainly does have a touch of writer in him, although the book really felt more like an intensely interesting lecture or dinner discussion than a treatise on the evils of the economic power we choose to wield over other states. From his time in Ecuador with the Peace Corps to his involvement in the Saudi Arabian Money-laundering Affair to his discussions with an Iranian official who had been so viciously tortured it left him permanently disfigured, Perkins spins an intriguing hidden history of the world. In pulling back the curtain, Perkins is really showing us the long road we (America) has taken to this crucial juncture in history. We are just now beginning to reap what we have sown over the years since the end of World War II. Ultimately Perkins tale is a depressing tale of moments in history where we could have done the right thing and instead chose to enhance our global power at the expense of the common man. I unreservedly recommend this book to everyone.

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