Can a business-man not be a hit-man?

I just finished reading the book, Confessions of An Economic Hitman by John Perkins.

It was a fascinating novel with a very basic and well supported premise: Giant corporations work with the government to secure large contracts and make lots of money.

As a student of international business and development, I find myself torn in his analysis. I do agree with his logic that we could spend more money on relief and less on defense contracts. I do agree that the greed of giant corporations is creating a significant imbalance in world perceptions. I do not completely know (yet) if giant MNE’s are really such a bad thing. What about the shrinking world of Thomas Friedman? Don’t more McDonalds means less wars? Although I do question John’s zealous efforts to label himself as an Economic Hit Man, I believe the patterns he discussed do exist. I’m still struggling with the complete assault on Friedman economics.

I think before going into more analysis I need to read some of the basic documents of the United States of America, to get a more clear understanding of the ideals that John Perkins frequently made reference.

I do not endorse this book as revolutionary truth, but it is a thought provoking read for anyone involved in business. John Perkins does a great job to illustrate the three major relationships that exist in all business ventures, big or small, domestic or international: The interworkings of Companies/Products, Governments and Consumers/Workers.

Really though I would enjoy to hear the thoughts and experiences of others…

2 thoughts on “Can a business-man not be a hit-man?

  1. Prestor

    Dude, I read this book and thought it was honestly just a big pile of crap. The basic premise as I understood it is that:

    1) The US gives developing nations a ton of money in “relief,” but requires the nations repay the loans eventually
    2) Large corporations go into these countries and get huge government contracts and make a ton of money building infrastructure (that may or may not be necessary)
    3) The countries default on the loans and remain indebted to the US indefinitely

    Something about the author’s tone didn’t sit well with me and I never really believed anything he was saying. I really think he was trying to make a buck and realized that the more inflammatory he could make the tone of the book the more he would sell.

    Large contractors probably do grease the wheels to get contracts in other countries occasionally but I really don’t think that the US’s end goal is to perpetuate the cycle of poverty in developing nations…

  2. Administrator


    I think that’s a pretty good summary of the book.

    I agree that his tone was still very hypocritical, (let’s not forget that he sold a good sized power company and has gobs of cash to show for it).

    While I would do agree that the US isn’t trying to perpetuate the cycle of poverty, the suggestion that using a “corporatocracy” to help keep the peace, would make sense, and could seem justifiable in terms of homeland security. Couldn’t it?


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