Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins

Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins

Confessions of an Economic Hitman is a semi-autobiographical book written by John Perkins, first published in 2004. The book provides Perkins’ account of his career with engineering consulting firm Chas. T. Main in Boston. Perkins claims the involvement of the National Security Agency (NSA), with whom he had interviewed for a job prior to joining Main.

According to the author, this interview effectively constituted an independent screening that led to his subsequent hiring as an ‘economic hit man’ by Einar Greve, vice president of the firm (and alleged NSA liaison). Perkins claims that he was seduced and trained as an “economic hitman” by a mysterious businesswoman named Claudine, who used his NSA personality profile to manipulate and control him.

The main themes of the book include systematic injustice, strategic inhumanity, and individual redemption through confession. The autobiography establishes Perkins as a young man with a good conscience. He is born to a middle-class family in New Hampshire.

In his book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, he describes how as a highly paid professional, he helped the U.S. cheat poor countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars by lending them more money than they could possibly repay and then taking over their economies.

The book reveals how economic projections were invented to convince other countries to accept important loans for infrastructure and development which they couldn’t afford.

What I Liked

The book reads like a spy thriller and provides a good window into how too many debt trap deals happen on the world stage. Even today, China is copying some of these tactics with their Belt and Road Initiative.

What I Did Not Like

The author is way too full of himself. He writes as if he was an almost shadow President of the United States for several decades. His tone and lack of good sourcing really undermines the whole book. I’m sure these deals did happen. And many were under bad terms and had mild corruption and some features of debt trap economics…but the scale that he describes just did not happen.

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