john_perkinsConfessions of an Economic Hit Man – John Perkins Here at Blue Point Trading we thought it might be interesting to go beyond mere trading ideas and study the economic realities in the world we live in today. To do this here is a brief book review of “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man,” by John Perkins. After which, I would like to give a personal account to confirm many of the assertions stated in the book.

John Perkins was recruited as a young man by the National Security Agency (NSA) and somewhat to his surprise, was grilled on his youthful insubordination, friendships with suspicious foreigners, and sexual frustrations. Ostensibly an economist, his job was to go off to developing countries, offer them enormous loans with which to improve their infrastructures and provide wildly inflated projections of the economic growth these project improvements would bring. Presenting to the right players, these projects very often would be accepted where local incentives would grease their acceptance. Naturally US contractors, would move in and build this infrastructure, though the economic benefits would not be achieved. The country then would default on their loan, and find themselves in hock to US financial institutions in perpetuity – or until it underwent revolutionary regime change. The textbook case example of this was Iran, where Perkins found himself a very short time before the fall of the Shah.

Once you’ve absorbed the book’s central message, it makes the news look rather different. So often we read in the news about developing economies that fall on hard times, blaming the general public for being freeloaders and profiting from the developed world. This then justifies global institutions (sometimes military) to usurp the country’s sovereignty to return assets or force sales of publicly own assets in an economic coup d’etat. As we know far too often, a few local people get rich at the expense of the general local population that can affect the society for generations.

Now for my personal story that confirms the assertion in the book. I won’t go into detailed writing on the story, rather will let you view the video blog to catch the story below. It was an eye opener in how business is done in a publically fund environment. In short, it is a story how I personally participated in a technology project that was rife with corruption and conflicts of interest. A project that could have done for a tenth of the costs that endowed public officials with potentially personal gains. If one would multiple this corruption many times, one can easily see how today the public is suffering from the burdens of these kinds of activities.

To be fair what John Perkins says in his book is not entirely accurate. There are most likely many cases where in fact public projects and public debt has produced positive outcomes. Critics of John Perkins say that he is prone to conspiracy theories that are not necessarily true. After all many countries have been lifted out of poverty via financial aid (see blog links below) and were not necessarily nefarious. Where things have gone wrong, they were mere unforeseen and unfortunate mistakes. That being said, my view can be summed up into old adages – “the path to hell is paved with many good intentions” and “Hello. I am from the government and I am here to help you.”

Of course, we have just scratched the surface on this topic, but perhaps this will spawn your curiosity to dig deeper into the underworld of public debt, state corruption and its effects on society. Please see the following video blog on this topic or click here.

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Confessions of an Economic Hit Man – John Perkins

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