Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

It’s almost something out of a fictional movie. Even the title "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" instills images of grandeur, secrecy, something straight out of James Bond. Imagine if globalization had a sinister purpose, and capitalism’s gross inequalities were not from the nature of capitalism, but done by the United States government. What if all the accusations that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated about an American empire were really true, and instead the media just hid the truth from the public? What if the NSA helped build a global economic empire? According to John Perkins, it’s true and more. Introducing the Economic Hit Man:

Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other foreign “aid” organizations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planet’s natural resources. Their tools include fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder. They play a game as old as empire, but one that has taken on new and terrifying dimensions during this time of globalization.

I should know; I was an EHM.
- Excerpt from Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

The book details Mr. Perkin’s escapades as an EHM, specifically in Indonesia and South America. His paintings of how the NSA profiled people for the job, how companies screwed billions of people in the third world countries, how the United States called in “The Jackals” to do political assassinations when the EHMs failed all led me to the question: How much truth was in this book?

The truth is always wrapped by a web of lies. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to see that all the stories are plausible; a quick Google search on the Bush administration gives heavy credence to Perkins' claims. This is the book's greatest strength: it succeeds magnificently in forcing the reader think about such issues.

Perkins does not offer much analysis of the stories he tells, nor should he. The title says it all. The book first and foremost is a confession: A way for Mr. Perkins to clear his conscience. This allows for much more leeway in the book's presentation. He throws out the obvious and boring trudge of a fact-laden approach and instead immerses you into a fictional imaginative world parallel to ours, with the kicker that it’s not. He runs you through a fast-paced tour of duty, hitting strategic points of interest, while wrapping it around a veil of secrecy.

Despite the plausibility of the stories and personal accounts of historical events presented in the book, they should not be taken as historical fact. They should simply be used as a gateway to further research. In that regard, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man fantastically illuminates deep issues within our current system, while keeping the presentation irresistibly addictive. Highly recommended.

* This is my first book review, any feedback is welcome. Thanks in advance!