Karthik bought this book for me saying that I would definitely like it and yes he was absolutely right. Its a very good read. It talks about a new breed of people called Economic Hit Man’s (referred to as EHM’s from now) who can go to any extent in exploiting the poorer oil rich countries for the benefit of United States. Their strategy is fairly simple – convince the poorer countries to accept development loans and then to make sure the development projects were given to U.S. companies so that the money would be back to U.S. And then when the countries are neck deep in debts, they start exploiting them by taking favours like military cooperation, political support, access to natural resources like oil supply or control over water bodies/canals, etc.
The author John Perkins himself was an EHM and throughout the book he talks about all the dirty deeds done by him as an EHM. Another interesting aspect mentioned in the book is when the EHM way does not work out in any country, the next level is to use the CIA (termed as jackals in the book) to carry out any assasinations and the final approach would be U.S. military intervention when everthing else fails. Was it not for this book, I guess we would have never known that such kind of events actually took place. It shows how deceptive the news we get through newspapers, raidos & televisions can be. The underlying facts are not always evident directly.
The book starts with how the author’s childhood, education, etc., has contributed to his becoming an EHM. Then he starts describing his assignments, success stories and the way the poorer countries were forced into debts and ultimately driven into extreme poverty. The book gave me a clear picture of many of the events that occurred in the last few decades. Though nothing can be done about them now, knowing the inner details has given me a new perspective of looking at things, to actually look at the hidden side of the events. This reminds me of the book Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. The EHM’s in the disguise of Economists are set out to exploit the weaker nations.
Out of all the events described by the author, what I liked the most are – Panama Canal & Saudi Arabian issues and the two Presidential deaths (Ecuador & Panama) which were the best examples of CIA assasinations. War on Iraq was the best example where in both the EHMs and the jackals failed and ultimately U.S. had to resort to military intervention. Another example wherein both the EHMs & jackals failed was in Venezuela. But there was no military intervention due to the war on Iraq and Afghanistan issues. On the whole the book covers some of the major events from the 1960s to 9/11 attacks on WTC.
One more interesting aspect that I found in the book was the reasons why the author had actually chosen the EHM way. It was basically because of his childhood experiences, his brought up and his inner frustrations. As the author grew up he always wanted to try out what all he had dreamed of as a child but could not do because of restrictions at home. It was his vindictive nature that actually led him to accept the role of EHM. The benefits of being an EHM lured him to accept it and in a way he was actually trying to overcome all the frustrations that he had since childhood. I have seen this kind of a behaviour in real life as well wherein people just do something to actually take revenge against what they could not do till then. They get into things for the wrong reasons and end up in troubles. What they do not realize is that they are actually doing more harm to themselves than to anyone else.
And to end this long post I would like to mention about the non-profit organization called Dream Change started by John Perkins to transform global consciousness.