Economic power has its dark side, that we know. When self-described “economic hit man” John Perkins first published his Confessions of an Economic Hit Man in 2004, its revelations on how economic power truly works were startling to many. Perkins worked at a major consulting firm, persuading underdeveloped but strategically important countries (Panama is one example) to accept massive loans with impossible payment terms for infrastructure development projects contracted to American corporations.
Loaded with debt they could not pay, the countries wound up controlled by the U.S., the World Bank, and other aid agencies. The system kept the U.S. in power for decades and ensured that developing countries remained under the American thumb.
The book quickly climbed the NYTimes and Amazon bestseller lists. Since then, we’ve witnessed another two decades of global dynamics that show how influence, affluence and intimidation play all-too powerful roles on the global economic stage. But the balance of power has shifted with China’s rise to become a formidable global economic power, practicing systematic intimidation to further its position.
Another shift: the planet is warming, but economic growth continues apace, no matter the known consequences. Yet another shift: the pandemic has demonstrated just how vulnerable and interconnected we are.
If you’ve ever felt the need for charismatic expert to clarify what’s really going on right now, John Perkins is back — and just in time. The new iteration of his classic expose, Confessions of an Economic Hitman, 3rd Edition: China’s EHM Strategy; Ways to Stop the Global Takeover, aptly addresses the events of today, particularly the China juggernaut.
The upshot: what really goes on in the annals of economic power is worse than most of us could imagine, and it has enormous consequences. But Perkins doesn’t have to imagine any of it to explain. He lived it, and he knows it as only an insider can. Economic empires are still using economic hit men to do their dirty work. The difference now is that we’re heading towards a planetwide catastrophe unless we can stop it.
Given these high stakes, Perkins’ viewpoint is beyond compelling: it’s hard to ignore the Death Economy, as Perkins calls the global corruption and strong-arming taking the planet — and its people – down. A dozen new chapters in this edition examine how China is now deploying a no-holds-barred EHM strategy all over the world, from Europe to Latin America to Africa, and from Asia to the Middle East.
As Perkins writes, the “Economic Hit Man (EHM) strategy … took on new and ominous proportions after China entered the fray in the early 2000s.” He continues: “[China’s] global EHM takeover has become so broad and successful that the dynamics and dangers of it need to receive everyone’s attention. China is now the largest trading partner with countries on every continent.
Drawing on all four pillars of the EHM strategy, it has beaten out the United States in energy, transportation, communications, and other infrastructure development around the world.”
Just to clarify, those four pillars of the EHM strategy include fear, debt, anxiety over insufficiency (such as food, housing, and now, water), and divide and conquer. They’re classics by now, but as Perkins asserts, China has demonstrably upped the ante on these four pillars with devastating success.
He makes the case for shifting that Death Economy to a Life Economy, using all the powers of persuasion, reason, and unification that world and corporate leaders can. That may be what makes this book so arresting: we know that ignoring this dynamic and his call to action could literally mean the end of the world. There is a better way, and it starts with knowledge.
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