Review of Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins
Ebury Press, Random House, London
What is America’s “Manifest Destiny”? How did goats eating refuse on the streets of Saudi Arabia give rise to the monster that is Bin Laden? How come loans taken by poor countries never make them rich and can never be paid in full? For answers to these urgent questions, you need to turn the pages of the very courageous book with the title Confessions of an Economic Hit Man written by an American with the very quotidian name John Perkins.
Courage comes in many forms. It could be impulsive or contemplative, but no matter the form it takes, the end result is action.
The action in this sense is not physical in the sense of picking up a sword or taking up a gun and leading a bloody result like Che Guevara and his comrades, it is more philosophical and literary, a memoir written by a man in the grip of conscience hell bent on unburdening himself of blood guilt.
John Perkins, the author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man was born in New Hampshire, USA to two teachers. An only son, he was raised in humble circumstances by parents who placed a premium on education. His life was staid and normal until a chance meeting with a girlfriend’s uncle led to an interview with the National Security Agency (NSA), America’s largest spy organisation. But it was another coincidence further down the line; an unplanned attendance at a seminar and trip to Latin America that would turn a hum-drum life into an exciting one and lead to the making of this book.
This is a book of coincidences, of chance encounters, of cause and effects and fate leading people down unplanned corridors. The author puts it succinctly: “I have come to understand that life is composed of a series of coincidences. How we react to these – how we exercise what some refer to as free will – is everything.”
John Perkin’s reactions to Ecuador, the first Latin American country he sets foot in sets in motion a series of reactions that have had a huge impact not only on his life and the people he came across in the course of his duties but also on the lives, governments and environment of people like you and I who live in the Third World or Less Developed Countries (LDC), which are the vast theaters of operation of men like John Perkins.
When Perkins describes himself as an “Economic Hit Man” you must take it literally because that is what he and other men like him really are: men who earned their living by washing their hands in the blood of innocents, impoverishing already poor countries and degrading environments all in the propagation of the imperialist agenda of America and sustenance of the so-called Manifest Destiny.
Likening himself to a Mafia boss, Perkins writes that EHM like him “appear to be model citizens. However beneath this patina is a trail of blood.” Perkins and other EHM are behind the trail of blood, sorrow and tears from Panama, to the First and Second Gulf wars, the carnage in Somalia, the rise of Osama Bin Laden and the 911 tragedy because as “highly paid professionals” their job is to cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars.”
This book is a must read for every African who wants to learn more about America’s imperialist agenda and the convoluted and insidious economic policies of the World Bank, the IMF and other Bretton Wood agencies who have conspired and continue to conspire to keep African nations and other LDCs in perpetual penury.
By Toni Kan