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.
I’ve been familiar with the ideas in this book through various readings and discussions. While nothing ground-breaking is presented here, the author connects the dots on the incestuous relationship between our government and corporations – the corporatocracy – whose aims are to (1) consolidate wealth and power for elite individuals, and (2) build up the empire. For the first half of the book I was unable to put it down, riveted by specific details on how the deals took place. The corporatocracy wields power through money instead of force, making big loans to countries so they can build public works (requiring them to use engineering services by Halliburton and Bechtel) that we can later use as leverage. When the country is unable to pay back loans, they are forced to submit to various demands that serve United States interests, which are disseminated through puppet organizations such as the IMF and WTO. If they refuse, force is used like in Iraq.
It presents case studies on Ecuador, Venezuela, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Central American countries such as Panama and Nicaragua. The book loses steam after page 149, but I recommend you barrel through and pick up on the some interesting examples in the second half.
If you are familiar with US foreign policy, this book should not be a shock to you. We wouldn’t be the most powerful nation in the world if we didn’t do the things the author describes in this book. To further educate yourself about the American corporation, I recommend the documentary The Corporation. Its main focus is corporate power and influence within US borders.