john perkins, economic hitman

A very interesting speech by John Perkins, the author of “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” on the construction of the American empire and the rule of corporatocracy. If even a fraction of what he says is true, it’s absolutely chilling. (via Metafilter)

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  1. mark
    Posted April 20, 2007 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Someone on Metafilter observed that his resume read like that of Chuck Barris.

  2. murph
    Posted April 20, 2007 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    A number of friends who have been in the Peace Corps or worked for the World Bank or IMF recommended the book as completely accurate, within their ability to know – that is, they can verify that the book-cooking and usury is a common tactic for buying countries, though they don’t know so much about what mefi refers to as the “hot chick secret agent” stuff.

  3. ol' e cross
    Posted April 20, 2007 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    I do not believe. Please help my unbelief.

    I do believe, intuitively, in the corrupting monetary influence of U.S. dollars in the world economy. I also believe in corrupting influence of dollars on everything (hence, what follows).

    I’m deeply suspicious of folks revealing world-changing news in books that make them rich. Was his post-911 accusation conscience or opportunism? Couldn’t he please, for my sake, vowed not to pocket a dollar from book sales or the speaker circuit?

    Visit He rails against:

    “publishing houses owned – and manipulated- by gigantic international corporations,” Yet provides a homepage link to his book (Now in paperback!) on

    He offers a “what you can do” list of heartwarming, unoriginal ideas like “I could suggest you decrease oil consumption” followed by the first actual action point:

    “Offer study groups about Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (TM) at your local bookstore or library, or both (a guideline for doing this is available at”

    Both! What a great idea!

    How can I trust someone who claims to be mornful of his role in exploiting the poor of the world who’s every link seems to be a calculated move at turning a buck?

  4. ol' e cross
    Posted April 20, 2007 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    Sorry. But visit where you can buy a Perkin’s book to:

    “help you live a longer, more relaxed, and more productive life. Practical wisdom in a simple, easy-to-follow eight-step program.”

    Seriously. How is any/everything there, rhetorically, different from Pat Robertson’s miracle protein shake?

    I’m usually a happy drunk. But, I’m sick of folks using decent things, like Jesus and opposition to global warming, to pad their fucking fat asses and make suckers of folks who, for better or worse, are trying to care. That’s my button. Perkins pushes it.

  5. mark
    Posted April 20, 2007 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    I share your skepticism, OEC, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that what he’s saying isn’t true, at least to some degree.

    Here’s an idea… Maybe we can determine how much is true if we torture him.

  6. ol' e cross
    Posted April 20, 2007 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    Agreed. Every good scam is based on a diversion of truth.

    You arrange the meeting, and I’ll get medieval on his ass. Hurry though, my anger has started to wane…

  7. mark
    Posted April 20, 2007 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    My waterboard is ready, OEC. Now we just have to come up with his speaking fee to get him here.

  8. murph
    Posted April 21, 2007 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    I don’t think I can rush to condemn anybody who’s made a career change away from destabilizing popular democratic regimes and towards documenting indigenous culture…

    Fine, so he’s making a living out of it – but, like I said, better he make a living selling books than perpetuating world inequity and strife.

  9. egpenet
    Posted April 21, 2007 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    “Wa’cha doin’ with that Camel cigarette, Mr. Vonnegut.”

    “See this cordite fuse, kid? It leads around the corner and into the foundation of the CNN tower. I take this lit Camel … (puff, puff) … and insert the opposite end onto the fuse, catch a city bus to Hartsfield Airport … and by the time, I’m about 5 minutes away … thar she blows, as Ahab might mutter. Got it?”

    “Geez, Mr. Vonnegut, how cool! You imagine that’ll really work?”

    “Trust me, kid. I’ve been trained to imagine this shit.”

  10. ol' e cross
    Posted April 21, 2007 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    I guess moving from exploiting slaves, to exploiting abolitionists, is a positive career step. I quess I should be be patient, soon he’ll be exploiting slave-owners and the end will justify his exceptional means.

    (I like to think I make a living. I’d like to know, how many livings he’s making.)

  11. mike_1630
    Posted April 22, 2007 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    I’m reading his book right now actually :) it’s pretty f’ed up.

  12. Posted April 23, 2007 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Well if you want someone who started out with a conservative background, has a BA from Stanford University and MBA and Ph.D. degrees from the Stanford Business School, was a captain in the US AF in Vietnam, taught civic action and psychological operations at the Special Air Warfare School, headed a study team on principles of Air Force organization in Air Force Headquarters Command, and served as military aide to the civilian head of all defense department behavior and social sciences research in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Advanced Research Projects Agency in the Pentagon; served for five and a half years as a Visiting Associate Professor of the Harvard University Graduate School of Business and taught in Harvard’s middle management, M.B.A. and doctoral programs — along with working as Perkins did later for USAID — who says the same things basicly. Korten wrote a book called “The Great Turning”

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