John Perkins - Confessions of an Economic Hitman: Strategy Book Review

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From 1971 to 1980, the author worked as an ‘Economic Hitman’ (EHM) for the consulting firm Chas. T. Main, Inc. (MAIN). His role was “to cheat countries around the globe out of billions of dollars... to encourage world leaders to become part of a vast network that promotes U.S. commercial interests. In the end, those leaders become ensnared in a web of debt that ensures their loyalty” (p17). This was accomplished by the production of economic projections that would persuade the World Bank and other international organisations to lend money to these countries. After this money was spent on developing infrastructure in the countries in question – the contracts for which went to U.S. companies – they were left with large amounts of debts …show more content…
Crucially however, strategy is useless if opponents to one’s strategy have access to exactly the same information. Therefore, those in positions of power and knowledge are often capable of creating the best strategies. Effective strategy must be fluid and malleable, taking into account changes in circumstances as they happen. Importantly, for the purposes of this review, strategy is very often not concerned with ethics. Once the goals have been formulated, there is no room within strategy for evaluating their moral implications, unless it becomes clear that doing so will help attain the goals in question.
The author suggests that U.S. imperialism may have begun with a (albeit questionable) philosophical and religious belief; the concept of “Manifest Destiny - the doctrine, popular with many Americans during the 1840s, that the conquest of North America was divinely ordained; that God, not men, had ordered the destruction of Indians, forests, and buffalo... and the development of an economy that depends on the continuing exploitation of labor and natural resources” (pp 60-61). However, it is made clear that the current ‘neo-imperialist’ strategy is founded on no such philosophical platform, and Perkins emphasises the contrasting ethics between the current method and that of the American republic. “The republic offered hope

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