Features and Details
- Author – – – – – – – – – – – John Perkins
- Language – – – – – – – – – English
- Publisher – – – – – – – – – Berret – Koehler Publishers
- Publication Date – – – 2004
- Pages – – – – – – – – – – – – 250p
- ISBN – – – – – – – – – – – – – 0 – 452-28708-1
- OCLC – – – – – – – – – – – – – 55138900
About the Author
John Perkins is the founder and president of the Dream Change Coalition, which works closely with Amazonian and the indigenous people to help preserve their environments and culture. Between 1971 to 1981, John Perkins worked for the international consulting firm of Chas. T. Main, where he became Chief Economist and Director of Economic and Regional Planning. He has lectured and taught at universities and learning centres on four continents and a regular lecturer for the Omega Centre.
The book “Confessions of An Economic Hit Man” is a New York Times Bestseller authored by John Perkins. It is partly viewed as autobiography book published in 2004, which provides account of his career with engineering consulting firm, Chas. T. Main, in Boston. According to Perkins, his job at Main was basically to convince leaders of developing/third world countries to accept substantial development loans for large construction and engineering projects that would help the developed countries (American) elites and local elites, rather than the poor masses, while ensuring that these projects were constructed by U.S. companies. These loans later on, would give the U.S. political influence and access to natural resources for U.S. companies, when they are unable to pay back. John Perkins, in the book shared his under dealing involvement in cheating countries around the globe out of trillion of dollars
This is a powerful book offering substantial evidence for fighting the corporatocracy in all countries. It has strongly molded many understanding of hostility toward American foreign policy from the view point of developing countries. The depicted abuses of US influences over the World Bank were astonishing. The author explains that the US would encourage developing nations to take on US loans, then force the recipients to hire US corporations for projects, often justified by inflated economic projections accompanying these infrastructure loans are bogus. Instead it is tool supporting US political power in international negotiations.
Summarily, the author shares his candid experiences on the machinations of economic supremacy and political dominance of America over developing/third world countries. It casts a shadow on the ruling class of both developed and developing countries and how they have sold out their countries to protect personal interests.
Significance of the Book to Developing/Third World Countries
Perkins’ book has a great significance to developing/third world countries. It is an expose of international corruption, and from the author’s view point, an inspired plan to turn the tide for future generation. The book, which is authored by one time accomplice of exploitation and pillage of developing/third world countries, has lent credence to books such as “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa”.
In the book, Perkins has stated that his job as a ‘hit man’ was to convince leaders of developing/third world countries to accept substantial development loans for large construction and engineering projects that would primarily help foreign and local elites, rather than the poor masses, while making sure that these projects were contracted to U.S. companies. These loans, later on, would give the U.S. political influence and access to natural resources for U.S. companies.
The intent behind the economic hit man activity is to sink developing/third world countries deeper into debt, dependency and foster the elite’s corruption, then use international trade and legal institutions to claim their natural resources and funnel massive amount of wealth to the Global North/developed countries.
The book has been able to expose these pernicious and destructive economic strategies adopted by developed countries (U.S.), and the institutions that represent their interests, against the interest of the developing countries. From the earliest interactions Africa (third world countries) had with the Global North (Europe) till date, the relationship has always been unequal, lopsided and imbalance. Their intent and desire have always been how to exploit, irrespective of the epoch or era (pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial).
For instance, during the inevitable decoloniztion, the question of how to maintain the colonial structure in the post-colonial period arose. Unfortunately, newly independent states only succeeded in gaining flag and stamp independence, colonialism was modified during this period to served the interest of the colonial masters. Little wonder some knowledgeable Africans like Kwame Nkrumah fought against it (Neo-colonialism) tirelessly. Evidentially, the post-colonial world order was built upon the colonial order, where natural resources keep flowing from the developing/third world countries to the Global North (Europe & America) as well as open and available market to sell the later’s finished products, while the former is kept under tight economic, political, religious and social control. Currently, the mechanism for perpetuating these rapes is a well-stitched infrastructure of corporations, banks, foreign policy outfits, and international governments and non-governmental agencies.
In Nigeria, neo-colonialism has conspicuously manifested. According to the latest Debt Management Office (DMO) report for June 2019, the country’s total external debt rose to 8.32 trillion naira ($27.1 billion) and the country budgeted 293 billion naira for debt servicing in the said year. Recently, IMF has approved Nigeria’s request for emergency financial assistance of $3.4 billion. This as usual did not happen without stringent conditionalities which virtually do not favour the recipient country – these international institutions which are highly controlled by host countries are the instruments of neo-colonialism.
To buttress this point, a United Nations Specialized agency disclosed recently that 40% of African countries are in a position where they can’t afford to pay back their debt. The implication now is that, they are perpetually tight to the apron string of the donor countries and institutions
This book has offered substantial evidence for fighting corporatocracy, especially in the developing/third world countries. It also provides sound understanding of the roles the local elites/leaders play in perpetuating neo-colonialism in their various countries.
It is therefore an eye opener for readers, development enthusiasts, experts and academics, to create the needed consciousness and awareness for tackling dependency and neo-colonialism . And it is also a road map for any third world countries that is determined to chart an independent development course.
Clarification of Term
Economic Hit Man:
The term ‘Economic Hit Man’ is used to describe the role of individual, like Perkins himself, whose assigned role is to produce, create or invent out of thin air, the needed financial projections and plans to legitimize the rationale behind disastrous and destructive projects in developing/third world countries.