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|Asunto:||[GAP] [economialternativa] Esquema Economico Global / John Perkins-Main|
|Fecha:||Sabado, 16 de Diciembre, 2006 10:37:28 (-0600)|
|Autor:||La Casa de la Red <lacasadelared @.....com>
From: José Luis Gutiérrez <meshico_33@...>
Date: 12-dic-2006 13:46
Subject: [economialternativa] Artículo sobre el Esquema Económico
Compañer@s del Foro,
Esta nota trata sobre las confesiones de un asesor económico estrella de un
consorcio de los EUA.
Me permito ponerlo a su consideración por el interés que varios han
manifestado respecto a la forma como el sistema monetario internacional toma
el control de las economías de los países en vías de desarrollo. Les dejo el
texto para su discernimiento, discusión y análisis.
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (Updated Dec. 11, 2006 with 4 Videos)
BY: Author: John Perkins Publisher: Berrett-Koehler
Date Published: Monday, December 11, 2006
(To view these videos click on "Visit Author's Website")
Date of Publication: November 2004 ISBN: 1576753018
[Summary published by CapitolReader.com on February 17, 2005] (edit/modif.)
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is John Perkins' fast-paced
autobiography, which reveals his career as an economist for an international
consulting firm. Perkins says he was actually an "Economic Hit Man" and his
job was to convince countries that are strategically important to the United
States to accept enormous loans for infrastructure development and to make
sure that the lucrative projects were contracted to U.S. corporations.
Perkins takes the reader through his career and explains how he created
economic projections for countries to accept billions of dollars in loans
they surely couldn't afford. He shares his battle with his conscience over
these actions and offers advice for how Americans can work to end these
practices, which he feels have directly resulted in terrorist attacks and
animosity towards the United States.
* Please Note: This CapitolReader.com summary does not offer judgment or
opinion on the book's content. The ideas, viewpoints and arguments are
presented just as the book's author has intended.
What Is An Economic Hit Man?
Perkins defines economic hit men (EHMs) as "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."
In Perkins' case, he was hired as an economist for the international
consulting firm of Chas. T. Main, Inc. (MAIN). He was told in confidential
meetings with "special consultant" to the company Claudine Martin that he
had two primary objections:
He was supposed to justify huge loans for countries. These loans would be
for major engineering and construction projects, which were to be carried
out by MAIN and other U.S. companies such as Bechtel, Halliburton, Stone &
Webster and Brown & Root.
He was supposed to help bankrupt the countries that received these loans
after the U.S. companies involved had been paid. This would make sure that
these countries would remain in debt to their creditors and would then be
easy targets when the U.S. needed favors such as military bases, UN votes
and access to natural resources like oil.
Perkins' job was to produce economic growth projections that would make the
case for a variety of major projects. If the U.S. decided to lend a country
money (in order to persuade its leaders not to align with the Soviet Union,
for example), Perkins would compare the economic benefits of different
projects such as power plants or telecommunications systems. He would then
produce reports that showed the economic growth the country would experience
due to these projects. These economic growth projections needed to be high
enough to justify the loans. Otherwise, the loans would be denied.
The gross national product (GNP) was always the most important factor in
these economic projections. The project expected to increase the GNP the
most would be chosen. In the cases where there was only one project under
consideration, it needed to be shown that the project would greatly benefit
the GNP. Luckily for EHMs, GNP figures can be quite deceptive. "For
instance, the growth of GNP may result even when it profits only one person,
such as an individual who owns a utility company, and even if the majority
of the population is burdened with debt."
All of these projects were meant to make huge profits for the contractors.
The U.S. engineering and construction companies involved would be assured of
great wealth. At the same time, a few wealthy families and influential
leaders in the receiving countries would become very happy and very rich
thanks to these loans. The leaders of these countries would also have
bolstered political power because they were credited with bringing
industrial parks, power plants and airports to their people.
The problem is that these countries simply can not handle the debt of these
loans and their poorest citizens are deprived of health, education and other
social services for several decades as these countries struggle economically
to overcome their huge debts.
Meanwhile, the huge American media conglomerates portray these projects as
favors being provided by the United States. American citizens in general
have no trouble believing these messages; that these actions are unselfish
and they are in fact acts of international goodwill.
Ultimately, due to the large debts, the U.S. is able to draw on these
countries for political, economic and military favors whenever desired. And
of course, the U.S. corporations involved with the expensive projects become
The U.S. Government's Role
Economic hit men don't actually work for a United States government
organization such as the Central Intelligence Agency. The risk with such a
direct association is obvious. For example, if an EHM was working to put a
country in debt to the U.S. with the main reason being for favorable
military and political positions against the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union
would be quite likely to take military action against the U.S. if that EHM
were found to be working for the U.S. government. In the 1960s, America
found a way to use EHMs without directly implicating Washington.
It was during the 1960s that we saw the empowerment of international
corporations and multinational organizations such as the World Bank. This
allowed for governments, corporations and multinational organizations to
form mutually beneficial relationships. United States intelligence agencies
were able to use these relationships to their advantage.
Government organizations such as the National Security Agency (NSA) were now
able to screen for potential EHMs (as they did with Perkins) and then have
them hired by international corporations such as MAIN.
"These EHMs would never be paid by the government; instead, they would draw
their salaries from the private sector. As a result, their dirty work, if
exposed, would be chalked up to corporate greed rather than to government
policy. In addition, the corporations that hired them, although paid by
government agencies and their multinational banking counterparts (with
taxpayer money), would be insulated from congressional oversight and public
scrutiny, shielded by a growing body of legal initiatives, including
trademark, international trade, and Freedom of Information laws."
Recruited as an Economic Hit Man
Perkins married a former college classmate in 1967. A good friend of her
father's, referred to as "Uncle Frank", was a top-echelon executive at the
NSA. Uncle Frank immediately took a liking to Perkins and informed him that
a job with the NSA would make him eligible for draft deferment, meaning he
could avoid fighting in the Vietnam War.
After extensive interviews with the NSA, Perkins was offered a job, but
declined it to instead join the Peace Corps. Surprisingly, Uncle Frank
supported this decision, largely because it meant that Perkins would have
the opportunity to go to Ecuador and live with the indigenous people of the
It was with the Peace Corps in Ecuador when a vice president of Chas. T.
Main, Inc. approached Perkins about working for MAIN. The man explained that
he sometimes acted as an NSA liaison, which made this job opportunity a
perfect fit for Perkins, who had intended on accepting the NSA job when his
Peace Corps tour was over.
Upon returning to the U.S., Perkins was hired as an economist for MAIN. He
was told that MAIN's primary business was engineering, but that their
biggest client, the World Bank, had insisted that the company keep
economists employed in order to produce the "critical economic forecasts
used to determine the feasibility and magnitude of engineering projects."
Shortly after being hired, Perkins was trained confidentially by Claudine
Martin, a special consultant to MAIN. It was Martin who explained to Perkins
what his real job was. It was Martin who explained that he was now an
"Economic Hit Man" and that once he accepted this job, he could never leave
Perkins' first assignment took him took to Indonesia. Indonesia was an
oil-rich country and had been described as "the most heavily populated piece
of real estate on the planet." Perkins' job was to produce very optimistic
economic forecasts for the country, showing that by building new power
plants and distribution lines, the country's economy would explode. These
projections would allow USAID and international banks to justify huge loans
for the country, which would then be paid to U.S. corporations to build the
In 1971, Indonesia had become even more important to the U.S. in its battle
against Communism. Withdraws from Vietnam had the U.S. worried about a
potential domino effect of one country after another falling under Communist
rule. Indonesia was viewed as the key. If the U.S. could gain control of
Indonesia (with the debts that would incur thanks to the loans for these
huge projects), they believed it would help ensure American dominance in
While spending three months in Indonesia to conduct interviews and study the
economic potential for the country, Perkins was exposed to the drastic
discrepancy between the wealthy and the extremely poor in Indonesia. While
there were certainly signs of a striving economy with first-class hotels and
mansions, Perkins also personally saw the tragic side of Indonesia where
women and children bathed in wretched, sewer-filled water and beggars packed
the streets. He also met some of the country's native citizens and learned
of their resentment of American greed and extravagance in the face of their
These close encounters with the Indonesians created a struggle of conscience
for Perkins. He wondered if American capitalism was really the answer for
the people of Indonesia. He wondered if the population as a whole would
really benefit from the infrastructures the U.S. wanted to build in
Indonesia, or would it only be a wealthy few who became even wealthier while
the rest of the country became more entrenched in poverty and became even
While conducting his studies in Indonesia, Perkins was encouraged by his
superiors to create strong forecasts for economic growth. He was told that
growth rates of 17 percent per annum were expected. Also providing economic
forecasts for MAIN was an older employee named Howard Parker. Parker told
Perkins not to be pressured by his superiors, he told him not to buy into
the game, not to create unrealistic projections. He told Perkins that the
electrification project could not create economic growth rates of more than
Conversations with Parker led to more conscience battles for Perkins.
Ultimately, he told himself that the decision wasn't really his to make, it
would be up to his bosses and they could simply choose between his high
economic forecast and Parker's lower forecast.
When the final projections were presented to the executives at MAIN,
Perkins' figures pleased his bosses with 17-20 percent growth rate
projections while Parker's forecast came in at eight percent. Parker was
promptly fired and Perkins was promoted to Chief Economist at MAIN and
received a nice raise.
In 1972, Perkins was sent to Panama to close the deal on MAIN's master
development plan with the country. "This plan would create a justification
for World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and USAID investment of
billions of dollars in the energy, transportation, and agricultural sectors
of this tiny and very crucial country. It was, of course, a subterfuge, a
means of making Panama forever indebted and thereby returning to its puppet
Again, Perkins experienced the enormous differences between the wealthy and
the poor. However, in Panama, the differences were most extreme in one area,
the Canal Zone. In the Canal Zone, Americans lived in beautiful homes and
enjoyed golf courses and first-class shopping. Just outside of the Canal
Zone, Panamanians lived in wooden shacks and among overflowing sewage. These
harsh differences created high levels of animosity between the Americans
living in the Canal Zone and the natives of Panama. It was not uncommon to
see graffiti messages demanding that the U.S. leave Panama.
On his trip, Perkins met with Panama's president and charismatic leader,
Omar Torrijos. Perkins was very impressed with Torrijos and became friends
with the leader. Torrijos was well aware of the EHM practices and knew fully
how the game was played. He knew that he could become a very wealthy man by
cooperating with the U.S. companies that wanted to build their projects in
his country, but he worried about Panama losing its independence and not
taking care of its many citizens living in poverty.
Torrijos made a peculiar deal with Perkins and MAIN. He wanted Panama to
take back control of the Panama Canal and in doing so he wanted to build a
more efficient canal, a sea-level one without locks that would allow for
bigger ships. The Japanese, the Canal's biggest clients, would be interested
in financing this construction, which would anger Bechtel Group, Inc.
Bechtel was a company closely connected to Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and
George H.W. Bush.
Omar Torrijos was concerned that these actions may send the wrong signals
internationally. He wanted to make sure that Panama was recognized as an
independent country and was not dictated by Russia, China or Cuba. He did
not want Panama to be perceived as against the United States. Instead, he
wanted it known that they were simply protecting the rights of the poor.
Torrijos did want to invest in huge advancement projects in electricity,
transportation and communications for Panama, but he wanted to make certain
that these projects benefited his entire country, including those living in
extreme poverty. To do so would require huge amounts of money from the World
Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. Torrijos worried that his
commitment to taking back the Canal would anger the top people at Bechtel so
much that it would make it nearly impossible to achieve his plans for these
So, Torrijos made a deal with Perkins and MAIN. He told Perkins that if he
could secure the financing for these projects, MAIN could have all the work
they wanted on this master development plan. Perkins agreed to the deal and
would do Torrijos' bidding.
In response to the power of the international oil companies, which
collaborated to hold down petroleum prices, a group of oil-producing
countries formed OPEC in the 1960s. The huge impact OPEC was capable of
became evident to the world with the 1973 oil embargo. This embargo was a
result of the United States' support of Israel when Egypt and Syria launched
attacks on the country. As the U.S. provided Israel with more financial aid,
Saudi Arabia and other Arab oil producing countries imposed a total embargo
on oil shipments to the U.S. While the embargo was short-lived, its impact
was huge as Saudi oil prices jumped from $1.39 per barrel on January 1, 1970
to $8.32 on January 1, 1974.
As a result, Wall Street and Washington became obsessed with protecting
American oil supplies and the U.S. was forced to recognize Saudi Arabia's
importance to its economy.
"For Saudi Arabia, the additional oil income resulting from the price hikes
was a mixed blessing." Suddenly, the country's conservative religious
beliefs were being replaced with a sense of materialism. Washington
recognized this movement and negotiated with Saudi Arabia for assurance that
there would never again be an oil embargo from the country. The result of
these negotiations was the United States-Saudi Arabian Joint Economic
Commission, known as JECOR. The unprecedented agreement was the opposite of
the norm, where countries had to borrow from the U.S. until it could never
get out of that debt. Instead, this agreement relied on Saudi Arabia's own
money to hire American firms to build up the country.
The U.S. wanted Saudi Arabia to guarantee to maintain oil supplies at prices
that would be acceptable to the U.S. and its allies. Due to Saudi Arabia's
vast petroleum supplies, this guarantee would protect the U.S. even if other
countries threatened oil embargos. In exchange for the guarantee, the U.S.
offered the House of Saud a commitment to provide complete political and
military support (this would guarantee that the royal family would continue
to rule in Saudi Arabia). The condition would be that the Saudis buy U.S.
government securities with their petrodollars and that the interest earned
on these securities would be used to pay U.S. companies to convert Saudi
Arabia into a modern industrial power.
Perkins was brought in as an adviser in the early stages of these
negotiations. His job was "to develop forecasts of what might happen in
Saudi Arabia if vast amounts of money were invested in its infrastructure,
and to map out scenarios for spending that money." He was told that not only
would this job result in huge profits for MAIN, but that it was also a
matter of national security.
This job was different for Perkins as the final objective was not to burden
Saudi Arabia with debts it could never repay, but instead to "assure that a
large portion of petrodollars found their way back to the United States."
Basically, MAIN and other U.S. corporations needed to convince Saudi Arabia
of the importance and benefits of transforming their country to a more
modern nation. This would ultimately make Saudi Arabia more dependent on
U.S. corporations and make U.S. corporations extremely wealthy.
For his part, Perkins convinced a key player within the House of Saud, a man
he calls Prince W., that these projects would benefit his country as well as
him personally. Perkins was able to eventually persuade Prince W. by
arranging for a beautiful prostitute to live with him. By arranging for the
prostitute to live with Prince W., Perkins was able to gain his trust and
eventually convinced him of the value of the deal. The entire package was
finally approved by the royal family of Saudi Arabia and MAIN was rewarded
with one of the first highly lucrative contracts, which was actually
administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
"The deal between the United States and Saudi Arabia transformed the kingdom
practically overnight." It also marked the beginning of an ongoing
relationship between the House of Saud, the bin Laden family and the Bush
family, which benefited greatly from a financial standpoint thanks to the
Struggling with His Conscience
Perkins saw his career take off as he was promoted again and became the
youngest partner in the history of MAIN. He would go on to head major
projects all over the world while taking home a huge salary. However,
Perkins could not stop struggling with his conscience over the negative
outcomes he believed he was causing as an EHM.
In 1978 and 1979, the consequences of EHM empire building became clear to
Perkins by what he saw happen in Iran. While the U.S. had supported the
shah, the results had led to class wars and passionate animosity towards the
"corporatocracy" being implemented in Iran. Perkins had seen this hostility
first-hand in several of the countries where he had helped to create similar
situations with his EHM practices. Citizens of these countries hated U.S.
policy and blamed it for their corrupt leaders and despotic government. In
Iran, the situation escalated and led to the shah fleeing the country for
his own safety and Iranians storming the U.S. Embassy and taking 52
It was then that Perkins fully realized that "the United States is a nation
laboring to deny the truth about its imperialist role in the world" and he
became overwhelmed with guilt over his role in this global movement. Perkins
sank into a depression and quit his job at MAIN in 1980.
The EHM Impact Continues
Perkins would continue to be haunted by the impact of EHMs even as he
started his own company (a company that committed to producing
environmentally friendly electricity), did special consulting for MAIN and
other corporations, and became involved with nonprofit organizations and
their efforts to work with and help indigenous people in Latin America.
In 1981, Perkins became deeply disturbed by the death of his friend and the
leader of Panama, Omar Torrijos. Perkins believes that Torrijos' death in a
plane crash was a CIA assassination because of his positions on the Panama
Canal (Torrijos had achieved his goal of taking back the Canal) and his
unwillingness to cooperate with American corporations. Torrijos was replaced
by Manuel Noriega, who "became a symbol of corruption and decadence."
Eventually, in 1989, the United States attacked Panama and "the Arias family
and the pre-Torrijos oligarchy, which had served as U.S. puppets from the
time when Panama was torn from Columbia until Torrijos took over, were
Perkins also watched closely throughout the '80s and '90s as the U.S. tried
to get Iraq and Saddam Hussein to buy into the EHM scenario as Saudi Arabia
had done before. Hussein refused and when he invaded Kuwait, the U.S. wasted
little time and attacked Iraq. The EHMs failed again in their efforts
following the invasion of Iraq and in 2003, the U.S. invaded Iraq once
Perkins began to write Confessions of an Economic Hit Man on several
occasions, but stopped due to bribes or threats. But after 9/11, Perkins
knew he could no longer wait and felt he had to expose these practices and
the devastating consequences they create.
What to Do Now…
Perkins now spends his life trying to educate people about the role of EHMs
and how we can end their practices and achieve more global peace and
prosperity by transforming our institutions. He believes "we have convinced
ourselves that all economic growth benefits humankind, and that the greater
the growth, the more widespread the benefits." We must realize that the
American capitalism we are trying to push on other countries may not be
what's best for the rest of the world.
We can't just blame this movement on a conspiracy. "The empire depends on
the efficacy of big banks, corporations, and governments – the
corporatocracy – but it is not a conspiracy. This corporatocracy is
ourselves – we make it happen – which, of course, is why most of us find it
difficult to stand up and oppose it… We cannot bring ourselves to bite the
hand of the master who feeds us."
Perkins offers several ways to help stop "the corporatocracy and to end this
insane and self-destructive march to global empire."
Read between the lines of each and every media report and help others do the
same. The majority of our media outlets – newspapers, magazines, publishing
houses, television stations, radio stations, etc. – are owned by huge
international corporations and these corporations aren't afraid to
manipulate the news they deliver. Always seek the truth and encourage others
to do the same.
Cut back on oil consumption and shopping. When you are shopping, be very
aware of the products you buy and the companies you're supporting.
Downsize your personal possessions, including your home, your car and your
Protest against free trade agreements.
Protest against companies that exploit desperate people in sweatshops.
Protest against companies that pillage the environment.
Look for ways to educate others about what is going on in the world. This
can be done by writing letters and emails to friends, newspapers, school
boards and local organizations.
And finally, ask yourself the following questions: "Why have I allowed
myself to be sucked into a system that I know is unbalanced? What will I do
to make sure our children, and all children everywhere, are able to fulfill
the dream of our Founding Fathers, the dream of life liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness? What course will I take to end starvation, and make
sure there is never again a day like September 11? How can I help our
children understand that people who live gluttonous, unbalanced lives should
be pitied but never, ever emulated, even if those people present themselves,
through the media they control, as cultural icons and try to convince us
that penthouses and yachts bring happiness? What changes will I commit to
making in my attitudes and perceptions? What forums will I use to teach
others and to learn more on my own? These are the essential questions of our
About The Author:
From 1971 to 1981, John Perkins worked for the international consulting firm
of Chas. T. Main, where he held the titles of Chief Economist and Manager of
Economics. He later founded Independent Power Systems, Inc., an alternative
energy company. Today, Perkins writes and teaches about achieving peace and
prosperity by expanding personal awareness and transforming American
institutions. His previous books include-
Shapeshifting, The World Is As You Dream It and The Stress-Free Habit.
John Perkins - Confessions of an Economic Hit Man Part 1:
John Perkins - Confessions of an Economic Hit Man Part 2:
John Perkins - Confessions of an Economic Hit Man Part 3:
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