Former ‘economic hitman’: U.S. ‘death economy’ brought world to brink of destruction

By Travis Gettys
Monday, March 17, 2014 13:10 EDT
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A former “economic hitman” explained that the United States model for global domination cannot be repeated – and should not be attempted.

Author John Perkins explained last week on the David Pakman Show how American corporations extorted natural resources from developing nations in a process that sounds very similar to domestic privatization schemes.

Perkins, who wrote the 2004 book “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” about his experience working as a chief economist for the engineering company Chas. T. Main, said corporations would identify countries that had resources sought by the U.S. and arrange for them to obtain large loans from the World Bank and similar organizations.

“But the money never actually went to the country,” Perkins said. “Instead, it went to our own corporations to build infrastructure projects in that country. They made a great deal of profit from that.”

The countries would use those borrowed funds to build electrical systems, highways, industrial parks, and other infrastructure projects.

“Yet the country would be left holding a huge debt they couldn’t repay, and so at some point we’d go back and say, ‘Hey, you know, since you can’t pay your debts, sell your resource – oil, whatever – very cheap to our companies without any environmental restrictions or social regulations or privatize your public sector businesses, sell them real cheap – your utility companies, your water and sewage system, your schools, your jails, off to our corporations,” Perkins said. “And in that way we created the world’s first truly global empire, primarily without the use of the military.”

He said most economists agreed that developing countries needed better infrastructure to improve their economies, but he said statistics supporting this model were misleading.

“I came to understand that the poor people were not benefitting, that the statistics reflect the very wealthy, which is true in this country, too, you know, that 85 people control more resources than half the world’s population,” Perkins said. “Our statistics are very, very skewed to those rich people.”

He claims in his book the U.S. backed the assassinations of Panamanian leader Omar Torrijos and Ecuadoran President Jaime Roldós Aguilera in a pair of 1981 plane crashes because they refused to bow to corporate interests.

“We’ve created a death economy, one that’s based on killing people, militarization, and ravaging the earth,” Perkins said. “We need to move into a life economy that’s based on cleaning up pollution, feeding starving people, developing new technologies, transportation, communications, (and) energy.”

He declared the global economy to be “an abject failure,” arguing that Americans make up just 5 percent of the world’s population but consume 30 percent of its natural resources.

“That’s not a model,” Perkins said. “It can’t be repeated by China, even though they’re trying. It just puts the world in a worse condition when other countries try to repeat our model. We must come up with a new model.”

He said some corporate leaders and many consumers have arrived at similar conclusions and are beginning to take steps to correct the problems he’s identified.

“We’re truly in a consciousness revolution, a huge revolution, where people are waking up to the fact that we’re living on a very fragile space station that has no shuttles,” Perkins said. “We’re going to have to take care of this place, and big business is going to have to play a major role in waking up and taking care of this, serving a public interest – not the 1 percent, but the 99 percent – serving the earth, in essence, and we all need to get out there and make sure that happens.”

Watch the entire interview posted online by David Pakman Show:

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