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  • Wednesday, February 16, 2005


    Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

    I saw this fellow John Perkins interviewed on Democracy Now! and was fascinated by his account of the work he did arranging disadvantagous loans and aid to devoloping countries. He has a book out named Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. Rarely have I seen such explicit details about just how the US gets the economic upper hand over these countries. I don't really know exactly how truthful his account is but it certainly has the ring of truth. The full interview with Amy Goodman is well worth reading but here is part of it from Alternet under the title A Game As Old As Empire:

    AMY GOODMAN: Now, already people are going to be wondering, what is he talking about, "economic hit man"?

    JOHN PERKINS: Well, really, over the past 30 to 40 years, we economic hit men have created the largest global empire in the history of the world. And we do this, typically – well, there are many ways to do it, but a typical one is that we identify a third-world country that has resources that we covet. And often these days that's oil, or might be the canal in the case of Panama.

    In any case, we go to that third-world country and we arrange a huge loan from the international lending community; usually the World Bank leads that process. So, let's say we give this third-world country a loan of $1 billion. One of the conditions of that loan is that the majority of it, roughly 90 percent, comes back to the United States to one of our big corporations, the Bechtels, the Halliburtons. And those corporations build in this third-world country large power plants, highways, ports, or industrial parks – big infrastructure projects that basically serve the very rich. The poor people in those countries and the middle class suffer; they don't benefit from these loans, they don't benefit from the projects. In fact, often their social services have to be severely curtailed in the process of paying off the debt.

    Now what also happens is that this third-world country then is saddled with a huge debt that it can't possibly repay. For example, today, Ecuador. Ecuador's foreign debt, as a result of the economic hit men, is equal to roughly 50 percent of its national budget. It cannot possibly repay this debt, as is the case with so many third-world countries.

    So, now we go back to those countries and say, look, you borrowed all this money from us, and you owe us this money, you can't repay your debts, so give our oil companies your oil at very cheap costs. And in the case of many of these countries, Ecuador is a good example here, that means destroying their rain forests and destroying their indigenous cultures. That's what we're doing today around the world, and we've been doing it since the end of World War II. It has been building up over time until today where it's really reached mammoth proportions where we control most of the resources of the world.

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