Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Economic Hit Man: Globalisation as Neo-Colonialism

John Perkins, the author of the book, worked for the international consulting firm of Chas T. Main from 1971 to 1981, where he rose to the position of Chief Economist - or as he describes the role: The Economic Hit Man - belonging to a breed of highly paid professionals, who cheat poor countries of trillions of dollars.

In an interview with Democracy Now, he described his job:

"We were about 2,000 employees, and I became its chief economist... my real job was deal-making. It was giving loans to other countries, huge loans, much bigger than they could possibly repay. One of the conditions of the loan – let's say a $1 billion to a country like Indonesia or Ecuador – and this country would then have to give ninety percent of that loan back to a U.S. company, or U.S. companies, to build the infrastructure – a Halliburton or a Bechtel. These were big ones. Those companies would then go in and build an electrical system or ports or highways, and these would basically serve just a few of the very wealthiest families in those countries. The poor people in those countries would be stuck ultimately with this amazing debt that they couldn’t possibly repay. A country today like Ecuador owes over fifty percent of its national budget just to pay down its debt. And it really can’t do it. So, we literally have them over a barrel. So, when we want more oil, we go to Ecuador and say, "Look, you're not able to repay your debts, therefore give our oil companies your Amazon rain forest, which are filled with oil."... So we make this big loan, most of it comes back to the United States, the country is left with the debt plus lots of interest, and they basically become our servants, our slaves. It's an empire. There's no two ways about it. It’s a huge empire. It's been extremely successful."

You can watch his interview at:

In the Prologue of the book, Perkins describes how the EHMs are an integral part of the Globalisation process, and help creating a new form of colonial empire:

"As is the case with so many things we EHMs must take responsibility for, it is a war that is virtually unknown anywhere outside the country where it is fought... For them, this is a war about the survival of their children and cultures, while for us it is about power, money, and natural resources. It is one part of the struggle for world domination and the dream of a few greedy men, global empire.

That is what we EHMs do best: we build a global empire. We are an elite group of men and women who utilize international financial organizations to foment conditions that make other nations subservient to the corporatocracy running our biggest corporations, our government, and our banks. Like our counterparts in the Mafia, EHMs provide favors. These take the form of loans to develop infrastructure —electric generating plants, highways, ports, airports, or industrial parks. A condition of such loans is that engineering and construction companies from our own country must build all these projects. In essence, most of the money never leaves the United States; it is simply transferred from banking offices in Washington to engineering offices in New York, Houston, or San Francisco.

Despite the fact that the money is returned almost immediately to corporations that are members of the corporatocracy (the creditor), the recipient country is required to pay it all back, principal plus interest. If an EHM is completely successful, the loans are so large that the debtor is forced to default on its payments after a few years. When this happens, then like the Mafia we demand our pound of flesh. This often includes one or more of the following: control over United Nations votes, the installation of military bases, or access to precious resources such as oil or the Panama Canal. Of course, the debtor still owes us the money — and another country is added to our global empire.

... Ecuador is typical of countries around the world that EHMs have brought into the economic-political fold. For every $100 of crude taken out of the Ecuadorian rain forests, the oil companies receive $75. Of the remaining $25, three-quarters must go to paying off the foreign debt. Most of the remainder covers military and other government expensesÑwhich leaves about $2.50 for health, education, and programs aimed at helping the poor. Thus, out of every $100 worth of oil torn from the Amazon, less than $3 goes to the people who need the money most, those whose lives have been so adversely impacted by the dams, the drilling, and the pipelines, and who are dying from lack of edible food and potable water."

The last paragraph is a good example of the "trickle-down" economics!!!

It is somewhat ironic comment on our age that what should be seen as a signed document of pre-meditated personal and institutional crime has merely become a Best Seller book on the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, etc. The contents of the book have neither been challenged or denied by the global financial institutions, that have been quoted in the book - nor has the so-called Civil Society, Rule of Law, etc., taken up the allegations to challenge these financial institutions... it will be read, reviewed, discussed... and the world will return to "business-as-usual".


Sumita said...


Such idealism? And what did we expect?
noone helps in todays world economically without a tanglible/ non tangible reward...such is the human law...

maybe we r aliens...

Madhukar said...


It is NOT a "Human Law"... though such social darwinistic doctrine s sold/taught as Human Law, almost as if it is "natural"... The educated elite tend to believe it to be so, partly because it justifies many of their own actions/life-style, and partly because it is a dominant message which comes out of media (including education) in various ways.

There are countless examples to the contrary - though, generally not to be found among the educated elites... that's where the "Aam Aadmi" comes in.

Sumita said...


alright, I should have clarified what i meant by human law...

I have issues with the term "law" which is at conflict with humanity/ conscience...

but I failed to express what i really meant..

But to bring the educated elite vs aam aadmi dichotomy into this takes this to to different realm...which am not going to get into right now..

But, please note, I used we, meaning I was on the same side of idealism which makes me feel like an alien..I question my views, you question another's, thats the only difference...