Do you think corporations are pulling the strings in the Third World? Is the global capitalist structure inherently corrupt and rigged in favor of corporate America? Do you have proof? John Perkins goes a step further than claiming proof: he claims to have been involved in the racket. “The New Confessions of an Economic Hitman” is the updated and expanded edition of the original book in which Perkins blows the whistle on corporate America and the intergovernmental organizations meant to help its member countries.
Perkins’ thesis is as follows: consulting companies hire engineers and economists (Economic Hit Men - EHM) to create overly optimistic economic growth forecasts for developing countries to justify large international loans. These loans are then used to hire large Western corporations to build infrastructure projects. Because the forecasts were intentionally inflated, the countries are unable to repay the loans, and are then forced into making concessions to the developed countries that originated the loans - concessions in the form of “military bases, UN votes, or access to oil and other natural resources.” Perkins claims to have been an EHM for MAIN.
Perkins offers a brief overview of the salient 20th century events, during which a “symbiotic relationship developed between governments, corporations, and multinational organizations.” Although, Perkins stops short of calling this collusion orchestrated by an elite command structure; it’s more of an implied understanding among those in positions of power. Or as Gore Vidal once pointed out, there’s no need for conspiracy when everyone thinks alike.
After dozens of lamentations over his career as an EHM, one rather gets the point; at times one wonders if the primary objective of the book is to blow the whistle on this economic system or exorcize guilt for his personal involvement in it. That aside - along with a couple of curious decisions for making his case, such as citing research by the World Bank to disprove the official claims and raison d'être of the World Bank - this is an interesting read seeking to prove what a lot of people already assume.