Book: “The Secret History of The American Empire: The Truth about Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and How to Change the World
Author: John Perkins
Published by the Penguin Group
The author, John Perkins, bases much of the book off of his experience as an economic hit man (EHM) where he traveled the world working for a large multinational corporation, Chas. T. Main (MAIN).
This book focuses almost exclusively on the lesser known aspects of the economy and what goes on that we never hear about. He talks about a lot of the stuff that goes on in third world countries and other places around the world that we hear next to nothing about. He also talks about how we cannot sustain this way of doing things and he explains what we need to do in order for us to start to get back on track.
The book is broken into 5 main parts
1. Asia: This section introduces us to the job of an economic hit man, which is to go to a country and get them to accept money or services that they think willl help the country but will in fact put them in debt and benefit the U.S. In this section John talks about his first experiences as an EHM working in parts of Asia. We also learn about sweatshops in this section.
2. Latin America: In this part John talks about his time in various countries of Latin America and how he helped to remove presidents from power and replace them with a person that will help us.
3. The Middle East: As with the other sections, in this one Johns talks about his various encounters while working in the middle east. It is also discussed in this section how oil is the biggest commodity of all time and how if you can control the oil you can have an incredible amount of leverage on everyone else.
4. Africa: This section brings up the topic of assassination and how it can be used as a viable tactic in countries where someone in power is doing things that the corporatocracy does not like. Also in this section it is talked about how Africa is one of the least talked about continents yet is an incredibly important place that we must be more aware of.
5. Changing the World: This was my favorite section and as the title suggests it is about change. It talks about how we must confront our problems head on and change how we do things. That in order for change to take place someone must be willing to take action when no one else will.
The main focus of this book is that we cannot keep living the way we are. We are destroying are planet and aren’t doing enough to try and save it. And we are also exploiting third world countries for our own gain and that is something that needs to stop. We must change our views and redefine how our economy should work without having to take advantage of other countries. The corporatocracy must be brought down.
I found this book incredibly interesting to read and really enjoyed reading it. Lots of the stuff that is talked about in the book is stuff that I had never even thought of before really. One thing that I thought was really interesting was the section on sweatshops. He said that a couple people that he knew went to work at one of Nike’s factories in Indonesia and it talked about how terrible the conditions are that these people have to live and work in. It was really eye opening to hear how bad the conditions are and how they make very little money. Companies are all about spending as little money as possible and they do not think about what some of their workers go through and as long as they are making money they don’t care. It was also interesting to read about the lifestyles of the “economic hit men”. They travel to exotic locations and stay in expensive hotels and talk to powerful people in that country. And they are very good at convincing the country to do things that are not in there best interest.
This book may not have completely changed my way of thinking but it has definitely made me much more aware of what goes on around the world. I do agree with Perkins on one main topic, we must change our ways. Our current ways of living in excess are not sustainable and while it may not impact our lives as much, it will have a major affect on our children and grand children. All in all this book has opened up my mind and has given a lot to think about.