This is one of those books that I have been wanting to read for a very long time, and finally I got the audio book and ran through it in days.
It was amazing how hooked I was right from the beginning.
At this point in time, any educated and well read person in tune with world affairs would realise a general way in which things work.
The crony relationship between government and large business is evident across all countries of all sizes, starting from the local village politics in a suburb of Dhaka or the tie between say Halliburton and the US government bodies.
Similarly the nature of banks and debt that is issued on interest payments has to be questioned rather critically.
Here is the catch, we all have some vague idea, but John Perkins sheds some real practical light on the process, i.e: describes how its actually done.
There are 3 main take aways for me that are particularly important.
Existence of a Corporatocracy
The main point of this book is to illustrate a certain layer of society which holds certain powers which John defines as the corporotocracy and he shows how private contractors are interlinked with the government.
The growth of the United States as an empire happens greatly through ‘Economic Hitmen’, i.e: professionals which can belong to a variety of ‘groups’, both in government and the private sector.
These hitmen fulfil the role of bringing a country to its knees and then expanding the interests of the ‘empire’ within those countries.
This happens through convincing the relevant people in the country of the economic benefits of proposed infrastructure developments in a overly optimistic light, essentially painting a false picture.
In addition to the false premise of benefiting the country, the ‘EHMs’ create personal incentives for people in charge. During their limited terms in office/power they make a lot of corrupt money, condemn their nation to debt which it can never repay and then leave office.
Eventually, the country is left with debt which it can never repay and another representative of the ‘corporatocracy’ will show up and claim the debt in another form; military bases, lucrative contracts for their companies and votes in the UN.
If the ‘EHM’ fails, the corporatocracy sends in real hitmen, i.e: ‘jackals’.
If that fails = war.
The Ugliness of World Affairs
As a result – there are 24,000 people that die daily of starvation.
Countries such as Indonesia, Philippines, Ecuador, Panama and others are left in sheer poverty with horrific living conditions for a variety of their people.
The global reach of the heavily American based corporatocracy is thus expanded, in both a geo-political sense as well as an economic one.
The empire has not brought about well being for the world.
This empire has brought about injustice, death and suffering despite having the power and potential to easily make the world a better place.
Collective Responsibility of Society
A very important take-away from the book is the responsibility of every member.
Obviously John primarily addresses the American people who are not aware of the role that the most powerful organization’s, government and not are doing in their name.
He blames society as a whole for allowing this to happen.
John denies the existence of any single conspiracy, but rather describes it as a sort of collective failure that has led us to this.
Giving into to consumerism, a culture of gluttony and a passiveness when it comes to politics and a general knowledge of world affairs is what John accuses of society of.
John believes that there is no ‘conspiracy’, i.e: a couple of people that are to blame for all the worlds problems, the 1% of 1%. He argues that there is a culture at work here, a system, perhaps the right way to describe is a complicated network of conspiracies that leads to ‘human nature’.
The first thing about this book is the importance of the story it tells.
I like to believe that John is a sincere person who really believes that he has wronged and is confessing to the mistakes he has made.
The book is extremely significant and opens up a perspective on a profession that is extremely obscure, in fact, it is one that most people simply don’t know the existence off.
Personally for me, it is a book that has made a huge impact on my belief system. It did not point me into a new direction, rather it has pushed me along a line of thinking I previously had even further.
I agree with John.
There is no conspiracy, and even if there is a conspiracy, its part of a ‘system’ which I would simply classify as human nature.
Its omnipresent, and there is no guarantee that the people on the receiving/weak end of the stick would not do the same had they been dropped into a position of power.
Eitherway, this is a book that one absolutely must read.