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Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 2005
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John Perkins started and stopped writing Confessions of an Economic Hit Man four times over 20 years. He says he was threatened and bribed in an effort to kill the project, but after 9/11 he finally decided to go through with this expose of his former professional life. Perkins, a former chief economist at Boston strategic-consulting firm Chas. T. Main, says he was an "economic hit man" for 10 years, helping U.S. intelligence agencies and multinationals cajole and blackmail foreign leaders into serving U.S. foreign policy and awarding lucrative contracts to American business. "Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars," Perkins writes. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is an extraordinary and gripping tale of intrigue and dark machinations. Think John Le Carré, except it's a true story.
Perkins writes that his economic projections cooked the books Enron-style to convince foreign governments to accept billions of dollars of loans from the World Bank and other institutions to build dams, airports, electric grids, and other infrastructure he knew they couldn't afford. The loans were given on condition that construction and engineering contracts went to U.S. companies. Often, the money would simply be transferred from one bank account in Washington, D.C., to another one in New York or San Francisco. The deals were smoothed over with bribes for foreign officials, but it was the taxpayers in the foreign countries who had to pay back the loans. When their governments couldn't do so, as was often the case, the U.S. or its henchmen at the World Bank or International Monetary Fund would step in and essentially place the country in trusteeship, dictating everything from its spending budget to security agreements and even its United Nations votes. It was, Perkins writes, a clever way for the U.S. to expand its "empire" at the expense of Third World citizens. While at times he seems a little overly focused on conspiracies, perhaps that's not surprising considering the life he's led. --Alex Roslin -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Audio CD.
It is rare to find a book that takes your breath away. This may be one such. The author tried five times to start writing this book but was threatened or bribed to desist. He remains optimistic. You may find reading this book, either entertaining, or provoking rage, apoplexy or intense depression. Judge for yourself. Business Economist 20050711 -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Audio CD.Alle Produktbeschreibungen
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Overall the book is an incredibly enjoyable read for anyone willing to widen their view on the world. Serves as a wonderful source of discussion!
Präsidenten, die sich gegen dieses Konzept wehrten, riskierten letztlich den Tod durch sog "Schakale", die Attentäter der Geheimdienste, als Beispiele nennt er die Präsidenten Omar Trujillo (Panama, '1981) und Jaime Roldòs (Ecuador, '1981), die beide mit dem Flugzeug abstürzten. Auch die Ermordung Indira Gandhis (Indien) führt er an. Falls auch die Schakale nicht "erfolgreich" waren, so war das letzte Mittel Krieg. Die Irak-Kriege 1991 und 2003 seien solche Kriege gewesen, aber auch die iranische Revolution 1979, die Invasion Panamas 1989, der Generalstreik Venezuelas 2002 und viele weitere Krisen. Die Kriegsauslöser sind dabei nur Vorwand ("Saddam war unser Mann, er wäre noch im Amt, wenn er unterschrieben hätte").
Nach den Attentaten von 1981 kündigte Perkins, den angeblich seit Jahren ein schlechtes Gewissen plagte. Er startete dieses Buch, das jedoch wegen lukrativer Jobangebote und auch Drohungen erst 2003 erschien. Zu spät, sagen einige Kritiker, denn heute ist die Welt überschuldet, und Perkins satt. Besser spät als nie, denke ich, denn es ist trotzdem eines der wertvollsten Bücher, die ich bislang gelesen habe. Es enthält die Aussagen und Argumente aus erster Hand, um die katastrophale Lage der Dritten Welt nicht als deren Schuld, sondern als das Werk eines internationalen Finanzsystems zu sehen, das vor nichts mehr zurückschreckt. Perkins ist hochintelligent und ein Insider der institutionalisierten Korruption. Heute kämpft er für Aufklärung und Warnung vor seinen eigenen Taten. Sein Buch - in Struktur und Stil brillant - ist in den USA ein Bestseller und hoffentlich bald auch in Deutschland.
FILMTIPP: Unter "Google Video John Perkins" findet sich eine Rede von ihm vor der VFP National Convention (auf Englisch), in der er in den ersten 20 Minuten die Kernthesen seines Buches zusammenfasst. Absolut lohnenswert.
I personally have experienced the same sad situations as described in this book.
The industrialized countries themselves are however in a desperate situation to sell their products to poor countries for their economical growth.
Most of the financial helps are disguised in form of "development help" giving to poor countries credits with high interest rates in return.
In my projects which were financed by KfW, ADB, World Bank, etc.
the benefits theoretically calculated by the economists have never been realized.
In this memoir, John Perkins describes his covert role in expanding American economic influence by encouraging foreign governments to take on so-called development projects that they didn't need, couldn't afford and which wouldn't pay off for them. When the bill came due, the nations couldn't pay the loans and Uncle Sam was able to muscle the countries for concessions that independent countries probably wouldn't otherwise have made. Panama and Ecuador are the best developed examples in this scenario in the book.
Mr. Perkins performed this role ably on behalf of Boston-based engineering and construction firm by creating inflated estimates of the economic benefits of potential projects. In part, this wasn't hard to do because he didn't have the educational background to do the work correctly. But no one in his firm cared. His career advanced because he was so malleable in his upward estimates.
Who benefited? In the short term, such projects create lots of profits for U.S. manufacturers and engineering and construction firms like the one Mr. Perkins worked for and those that have employed so many people in the three Bush administrations (such as Bechtel, Halliburton and the rest of the usual suspects). These projects also help U.S. oil companies get access to new reserves. Wealthy families and politicians in the countries who do the projects often receive hefty amounts for their cooperation.
Who lost? Just about everyone else in those countries. The results described for Ecuador are particularly appalling. Indigenous peoples often suffer the most harm. It can be like when Europeans first moved to the Americas.
Mr. Perkins also makes unsubstantiated statements that if the economic "hit" didn't take the U.S. would follow up with assassins and/or invasions. That part of the case wasn't made effectively in the book. Conspiracy theorists will love the coincidences he describes though.
Mr. Perkins describes in the beginning of the book how he was recruited by the National Security Agency and assumes that either NSA or the CIA was responsible for his training in how to perform his role of overstating economic projections. He offers no verifiable proof that the training he received came from those quarters.
In fact, I found his argument a little strange in this area. In order to encourage him to be irresponsible in making economic projections, he was encouraged to think of himself as an "economic hit man." How is that really the way to encourage a young, idealist person to do the wrong thing? I don't think so. It probably would have made more sense to appeal to his patriotism. I wonder if Mr. Perkins may not have been set up instead by a foreign intelligence operation which wanted Mr. Perkins to eventually repent of his role and share this story. Although I have no proof that this scenario might have occurred, it seems more logical than the story Mr. Perkins assumes is true. If you read the book, decide for yourself what probably happened.
In any event, few readers will approve of the idea that the United States should overtly or covertly encourage countries to make bad public investments in infrastructure projects. This book will be an eye-opener for those who don't realize all of the harm that was done during the 1950s-1970s in this arena. The book itself doesn't provide a thorough look at the practices since then.
With the situation over energy in Ecuador in the balance now, I hope that readers will ask their representatives to look into the role the U.S. has been playing there.
The book isn't a particularly well written one (one of the reasons that I graded it at three stars). The book spends much too much time relating Mr. Perkins' hand-wringing about the ethics of his work over the years. I came away unconvinced about parts of his story. In the places where he describes what's going on as being a short-sighted attempt by his company to make more money, it reads convincingly. Where he ascribes motives to others, the book often doesn't have the proof to make the charges stick. His reasons for waiting so long to protest also seem inadequate to me.
But the real lesson of this book is that we should each examine our consciences about our work . . . and follow the advice of that frontier philosopher, Davy Crockett: "Be sure you're right, then go ahead."
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