Thursday, September 30, 2010

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

Written by: John Perkins

First line: It began innocently enough.

Why you should read this book: Vetted by the NSA and recruited from the Peace Corps by a private corporation, the author spends the majority of his adult years as an economic hit man, his job to convince developing nations to take out massive loans for unnecessary infrastructure development, and pay the money to American firms intent on controlling oil and other resources, after which the small nations would necessarily default on their loans and thus become pawns of the US government, forced to favor US military, industrial, and political interests in exchange for financial leniency. In clear and honest prose, he describes how he accomplished this goal time and again in South America and the Middle East, and how he squashed his conscience time and again, as the financial and personal rewards of his work overwhelmed his moral compass. This chilling and important exposé diffuses the smoke of decades of sinister, secretive American Empire building, beginning with the American coup against Iran's democratically elected leader for the heinous crime of refusing to sell his country out to an oil company, and dramatically details the true forces of history that are relentless in their drive to transform the world into a corporatocracy in which the poorest peoples of the world become slaves to the desires of a small elite class.

Why you shouldn't read this book: On the one hand, if Perkins hadn't gotten quite so dirty, there would be no one to tell this important story, but on the other hand, at times it's hard to swallow his moral equivocation, as he assures the reader over and over than he knew his actions were wrong, but other factors tempted him to continue. But this is an important book, and if you think the war in Iraq is justified, or can't imagine why 9/11 happened, or drive a car that runs on gasoline, you should probably read this book.

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