Book Review – New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man


This is probably amongst the most important books I have EVER read and anyone will EVER read ! I say this because John Perkins has managed to open the secret door marked “US of A corporatocracy”. We have seen different types of government in the last 100 years and before that the autocracies or monarchies, but the emergence of large private corporations as the new imperialists has gone largely unnoticed. The large private corporations of America rule the world – that’s the simple one line summary of this book. And no corporation is really without its hand in this new empire. The first fallout of reading this book has been my loss of respect for most of the American corporations, huge organisations that I had come to respect for their systems and processes – all gone. :(:(

I read this book just after reading The life you can save by Peter Singer and it was coincidentally the best way to read these two books. Peter Singer believes that one must donate to large charities that are trying to alleviate poverty across the world rather than trying to help a poor person individually. He also analyses why the poor have remained poor despite the large corporations and the wealthy nations of the world “assuming” that they are donating a huge amount of money. In the New Confessions of an Economic Hit man, you understand why the poor SHALL REMAIN POOR and more would join their ranks because the corporatocracy is about making money and using all the world’s resources for just one country – US of A. The tools at their disposal are FEAR and DEBT.

The very first statement that I underlined is – “Fear and debt drive this system. We are hammered with messages that terrify us into believing that we must pay any price, assume any debt, to stop the enemies who, we are told, lurk at our doorsteps. The problem comes from somewhere else. Insurgents.Terrorists. “Them!”.”

EHM – the abbreviation for the Economic Hit Man/Men.

Here’s another statement that sends the chill down your spine .. “These EHMs would never be paid by the government, instead, they would draw their salaries from the private sector. As a result, their dirty work, if exposed, would be chalked up to corporate greed rather than to government policy.”

The EHMs are expected to give positive upbeat economic forecasts and countries in South America or Africa simply buy into it or their dictators/leaders are bribed to buy into it. In exchange for infrastructure and other modern improvements the country gives up its natural resources for plundering – mostly oil, sometimes other minerals, coal etc. While America started the tradition, it appears as though China is now taking on the mantle from the US. Read the book to know why Presidents were assassinated and why communism got replaced by the new enemy “Islamic Fundamentalism” and why terrorism is lucrative business.

I was shocked to learn that the cannibal Idi Amin retired to a life of luxury courtesy the House of Saud and the US protested “mildly” so as to continue their economic arrangement with Saudi Arabia. Seriously??!!! “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” from the Declaration of Independence seems to apply exclusively to Americans and the rest of the world be damned. But the rest of the world needs to continue supplying the resources required by the US or the American arms manufacturers will get their government to bomb you. The average American should read this book too – guess what “One percent of Americans received 95% of all the wealth created since the depression”. Go chew on that !

Not just that … read this – John Perkins’ research took him to Good Jobs First, a national policy centre that reviews the various subsidies given by the US government since 2000. “According to its reports, over the course of the past fifteen years, the federal government has distributed $68 billion in grants and special tax credits to businesses. Two-thirds of that money was transferred to large corporations.” and read this “… the fossil fuel industry is highly subsidised”. Now President Trump feels climate change is a joke and pulls the US out of the climate change accord. Nice. Happy Independence Day indeed… it should be read as “Happy In Dependence Day” because America is drawing huge resources for itself from the rest of the world and is dependent on the rest of the world to keep up its lifestyle.

I was truly sad to read about how USAID and other charity/aid agencies of the US insist on products being bought from US corporations by the countries to which they provide aid. In India, many of the aid agencies have been under the scanner with the current government because of them being extensions of the US government agencies rather than truly aid agencies. While many Indians working for these agencies immediately join the ranks of “Modi haters”, I am glad there is some investigation happening. EHMs are a reality – this book is written by an ex-EHM, so every government needs to be smart and keep its people’s interests uppermost. EHMs operate through aid agencies and every other means at their disposal.

Please read this book, it should ideally become part of the college curriculum across the world – it would make the next generation more aware. Like the author, I too am hopeful that things will change and the world will become a better place to live but it needs work and awareness to stop the EHMs in their track, whether they are Chinese or American or European and who knows, maybe Indians !

Thank you John Perkins for writing this book – it certainly compensates for many of the things that you did as an EHM ! and thanks to Katharine Otto for suggesting that I read this book. Katharine, thanks for taking the time to read my blogs and for your comments that are so full of information and wisdom.


7 thoughts on “Book Review – New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”

  1. Bindu, Thanks for the acknowledgement and the strong recommendation for “The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.” I haven’t read the updated version, and you got things out of it I don’t remember. It emphasizes to me that debt destroys freedom, but governments are addicted to the easy money that they won’t have to repay. The cost is to the individual citizens and the environment.

    Americans are being played for fools, too. As long as we invest on Wall Street, we are colluding with the travesties, including the wars, around the world. The worst corporations are the ones paying the highest dividends.

    • Katharine, we have certain Indian corporations that buck the trend of only focussing on “profits” at the cost of the environment and am sure there are a few such corporations around the world – that believe in sustainable development and community service rather than just making money at all costs. A suggested reading is “Firms of Endearment” by Jagdish Sheth and Rajendra Sisodia. It talks of several American firms that are ensuring that they don’t harm the environment, have great benefits for their employees and are involved in the community. They don’t include the likes of Coca-Cola or Pepsi who deplete natural resources and harm the health of millions of people.

      • Bindu, Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll look into it. Generally speaking, I believe many companies begin with noble purposes in mind, but as soon as they go public, they lose control and the profiteers take over, saddling the company with debt, cutting corners, squeezing staff, and doing anything they can to promote short-term profits but shift long-term costs to the future.

  2. Thanks for the excellent review, Bindu. The book has been on my reading list for a while now, supplanted by others clamoring for attention. Another related book of disclosures, THE SHOCK DOCTRINE: THE RISE OF DISASTER CAPITALISM by Naomi Klein, was a shock to my system. After creating chaos across the globe, the “shock doctrine” has now come home to Father, its creator.

    FEAR and DEBT continue to rule.

  3. Thank you for the book review. I read the original book and will now read this updated version. There are reactively few books that cast so much light into areas cloaked in so much darkness. A book of similar substance I would encourage everyone to read is “JFK and the Unspeakable,” by James Douglas. It is based on many declassified documents that shed light on “why” JFK was killed by his own government and the forces of global capitalism all intent on continuing the Colonial bondage of the Third World. It is another book that connect many dots and assembles many puzzle pieces into a more comprehensible picture of the reality we find constantly distorted by corporate media.


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