This week I am participating in the launch of the newly updated book, The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. The original version of this astonishing tell-all book spent 73 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has sold more than 1.25 million copies, and has been translated into 32 languages.
Featuring fifteen explosive new chapters, this expanded edition brings the story of economic hit men up to date and, chillingly, home to the United States. It also gives us hope and the tools each of us can use to change the system.
The following is a guest post from the author, John Perkins.
It has been nearly twelve years since the release of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. People have wondered how the publication of that book has affected me and what I am doing to redeem myself and change the EHM system. They have also questioned what they themselves can do to help turn the system around. The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is my answer.
The excerpt below is a brief description of some of the tactics commonly used by EHMs and how they’ve changed since my days in the 1970s. As you will read, things have gotten much worse, more pervasive, and clandestine. I hope you enjoy this short glimpse into chapter 40 of the book and the events that became my confessions.
I’d like say a special thanks to Chantal for her support of my new release and for her willingness to post this on her blog. I hope you’ll connect with me on Twitter and Facebook!
Tools of the Modern Empire
In the 1970s, economic hit men were executives and consultants at a few multinational corporations and consulting companies. Today’s EHMs are executives and consultants at thousands of multinational corporations, consulting companies, investment funds, industry groups, and associations—as well as an army of lobbyists that represents all of these.
The similarities of the EHMs of the past to those of the present, as well as the differences between them, were on my mind in April 2013. It was less than a month after my Vietnam trip. I stood at the window of my hotel in Istanbul and looked out at the ancient buildings and minarets of this city that has been both the seat and the victim of empires for centuries. After the publication of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, I had been invited to Istanbul a number of times to speak at conferences of business executives. This historic city had become a center for international conferences.
I thought about the core tools we EHMs used in my day: false economics that included distorted financial analyses, inflated projections, and rigged accounting books; secrecy, deception, threats, bribes, and extortion; false promises that we never intended to honor; and enslavement through debt and fear. These same tools are used today. Now, as then, many elements are present in each “hit,” although that likely is evident only to someone willing to delve deeply into the story behind the story. Now, as then, the glue that holds all of this together is the belief that any means is justified to achieve the desired ends.
A major change is that this EHM system, today, is also at work in the United States and other economically developed countries. It is everywhere. And there are many more variations on each of these tools. There are hundreds of thousands more EHMs spread around the world. They have created a truly global empire. They are working in the open as well as in the shadows. This system has become so widely and deeply entrenched that it is the normal way of doing business and therefore is not alarming to most people.
These men and women convince government officials to give them favorable tax and regulatory treatment. They force countries to compete against one another for the opportunity to host their facilities. Their ability to locate their production plants in one country, their tax-sheltered banking in a second, their phone call centers in a third, and their headquarters in a fourth gives them immense leverage. Countries must vie with one another to offer the most lenient environmental and social regulations and the lowest wage and tax rates. In many cases, governments swamp themselves with debt so they can offer perks to subsidize corporations. In the past decade we’ve watched this happen to countries such as Iceland, Spain, Ireland, and Greece, in addition to the economically developing countries where it has been going on for longer. When the more subtle approaches fail, government officials learn that some damaging aspect of their personal lives, which they thought was secret, will be exposed or even, in some cases, fabricated.
Another change is evident in the justification used for the EHM tactics. Then, it was protecting the world from Communist takeover, from the Vietcong and other revolutionary groups, or from threats to our affluent American way of life. Today, the justification is stopping terrorists, fighting Islamic extremists, promoting economic growth, or saving our affluent way of life.
During the 12 years since the publication of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, the world has changed radically. I am excited to share with you how economic hit men and jackal assassins have spread to the U.S. and the rest of the planet and what we all can do to stop them and to create a better world. The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is an expanded and updated edition that includes 15 explosive new chapters. It also provides detailed strategies each and every one of us can employ to avert the crises looming before us. To learn more please visit http://www.johnperkins.org, and join me in moving not just into ‘sustainability’ but also into ‘regenerating’ devastated environments.
About The Author
John Perkins was Chief Economist at a major international consulting firm where he advised the World Bank, United Nations, the IMF, U.S. Treasury Department, Fortune 500 corporations, and governments in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Since then, his books have sold more than 1 million copies and been printed in over 30 languages. He has been featured on ABC, NBC, CNN, NPR, A&E, the History Channel, Time, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Der Spiegel, and many other publications. He is a founder and board member of Dream Change and The Pachamama Alliance, nonprofits devoted to establishing a world our children will want to inherit. His new book, The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, can be found on Amazon.