by John Perkins
As I write this, I am watching the economic chaos in Greece. I’m sure we’re all sharing the feelings of fear of economic collapse that is rampant among the other European countries – and in fact, around the world.
These events are classic cases of what I detail in my books – “Confesssions of An Economic Hit Man” and “Hoodwinked.”
Greece has been struck by economic hit men. Set to default on its debts, the Athens government is leading the pack of the17 eurozone states as the first country using the common currency to be declared in “selective default” on its debt. In the process, this nation, where democracy was first defined more than 2000 years ago, is clearly demonstrating how predatory capitalism works to undue the freedoms of its citizens. The Greek people were not the ones who agreed to accept these debts and for the most part they did not benefit from them; yet they will be burdened for years to come because they were hoodwinked by the international banking community and their own corrupt leaders.
Bailouts serve the creditors; they enslave the debtors. Although protesters swarm the streets of Athens, objecting to the draconian measures being imposed by the EU and the IMF, the country’s leaders are crumbling; they are accepting the bailouts. It has become evident that bailouts in our own U.S. crisis have only benefited the corporatocracy, with CEO’s paying themselves outrageous bonuses. This method of borrowing against the well-being of a country’s citizens merely serves to increase the power of the central banks, the IMF and corporate CEOs.
In my books, I write about how world economics and politics today are controlled by a very few people – the corporatocracy. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that whenever “debt restructuring” or “debt forgiveness” deals are struck they include privatizing parts of the economy that were previously considered public. Utilities, schools, prisons, even significant parts of the military are sold to multinational corps. Those who demand smaller government, are – knowingly or not – supporting a new brand of corporate imperialism.
These corporations are usurping the economic engines of growth that historically have been considered as belonging to the public domain. When I was an economic hit man during the 1970s, I was ordered to implement these policies in many “Third World” countries. It took me nearly a decade to see beyond the smoke and mirrors of the World Bank/Business School models, but eventually I came to understand that this was nothing less than the Big Steal. Now it has struck Iceland, Ireland, and Greece; Spain, and Portugal are in the cross-hairs. The Big Steal is escalating in the US, with the current round of budget-cutting anti-government campaigns.
I personally am outraged by elected officials who play into the hands of the corporatocracy. They tell us that our civil servants are incapable — and that corporations can do a better job. The so-called “patriots” denigrate the very government that won WWII, built our highway systems, and helped us become the wealthiest nation in history. Army generals are replaced by Blackwater mercenaries. Water and sewer systems are turned over to CEOs whose salaries exceed those of all the men and women who lay the pipes and keep the water flowing.
When our corporate-financed elected officials forced the government to step back, cut away at the regulations that were safety nets established after the Great Depression, the corporations brought down Wall Street, took us into this horrible recession, and then demanded that the government finance their recovery and sell them its assets. Our assets.
Please remember, none of this is about creating a better world for us or our children. It is about destroying democracy, emasculating government-by-the people, and replacing it with government-by-the corporatocracy. Despite the red-white-and-blue rhetoric, all these actions strengthen this New World Order of imperialistic rule by the corporatocracy.
We must not accede to a corporate-run government. We must vote out those who are on the corporate lobbyist bank roll and vote in those who can truly make a difference. We must reject the robber barons of the corporatocracy.
About 2400 years ago a Greek general named Pericles stood before an Athens audience and proclaimed, “We are called a democracy, for the administration is in the hands of the many and not the few, with equal justice to all alike in their private dispute.” Let this current Greek crisis serve as a reminder to all of us that democracy is under attack today. It will only survive if you and I – We the People – insist on governments that are “in the hands of the many and not the few.
Please join me in rejecting predatory capitalism and support organizations like Dream Change, The Pachamama Alliance, and the Green Festivals.
About John Perkins
John Perkins has lived four lives: as an economic hit man (EHM); as the CEO of a successful alternative energy company, who was rewarded for not disclosing his EHM past; as an expert on indigenous cultures and shamanism, a teacher and writer who used this expertise to promote ecology and sustainability while continuing to honor his vow of silence about his life as an EHM; and as a writer who, in telling the real-life story about his extraordinary dealings as an EHM, has exposed the world of international intrigue and corruption that is turning the American republic into a global empire despised by increasing numbers of people around the planet.
As an EHM, Johns job was to convince Third World countries to accept enormous loans for infrastructure development—loans that were much larger than needed—and to guarantee that the development projects were contracted to U.S. corporations like Halliburton and Bechtel. Once these countries were saddled with huge debts, the U.S. government and the international aid agencies allied with it were able to control these economies and to ensure that oil and other resources were channeled to serve the interests of building a global empire.
In his EHM capacity, John traveled all over the world—to Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East—and was either a direct participant in or witness to some of the most dramatic events in modern history, including the Saudi Arabian Money-laundering Affair, the fall of the Shah of Iran, the assassination of Panama’s President Omar Torrijos, the subsequent invasion of Panama, and events leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
In 1980 Perkins founded Independent Power Systems, Inc (IPS), an alternative energy company. Under his leadership as CEO, IPS became an extremely successful firm in a high-risk business where most of his competitors failed. Many “coincidences” and favors from people in powerful positions helped make IPS an industry leader. John also served as a highly paid consultant to some of the corporations whose pockets he had previously helped to line—taking on this role partly in response to a series of not-so-veiled threats and lucrative payoffs.
After selling IPS in 1990, John became a champion for indigenous rights and environmental movements, working especially closely with Amazon tribes to help them preserve their rain forests. He wrote five books, published in many languages, about indigenous cultures, shamanism, ecology, and sustainability; taught at universities and learning centers on four continents; and founded and served on the board of directors of several leading nonprofit organizations.
One of the nonprofit organizations he founded and chaired, Dream Change Coalition (later simply Dream Change, or DC), became a model for inspiring people to attain their personal goals and, at the same time, to be more conscious of the impacts their lives have on others and on the planet, and for empowering them to transform their communities into more balanced and sustainable ones. DC has developed a following around the world and has empowered people to create organizations with similar missions in many countries.
During the 1990s and into the new millennium, John honored his vow of silence about his EHM life and continued to receive lucrative corporate consulting fees. He assuaged his guilt by applying much of the money he earned as a consultant to his nonprofit work. Arts & Entertainment television featured him in a special titled “Headhunters of the Amazon,” narrated by Leonard Nimoy. Italian Cosmopolitan ran a major article on his “Shapeshifting” workshops in Europe. TIME magazine selected Dream Change as one of the thirteen organizations in the world whose Web sites best reflected the ideals and goals of Earth Day.
Then came September 11, 2001. The terrible events of that day convinced John to drop the veil of secrecy around his life as an EHM, to ignore the threats and bribes, and to write Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. He believed he had a responsibility to share his insider knowledge about the role the U.S. government, multinational “aid” organizations, and corporations have played in bringing the world to a place where such an event could occur. He wanted to expose the fact that EHM are more ubiquitous today than ever before. He felt he owed this to his country, to his daughter, to all the people around the world who suffer because of the work he and his peers have done, and to himself. In this book, he describes the dangerous path his country is taking as it moves away from the original ideals of the American republic and into a quest for global empire.
Previous books by John Perkins include Shapeshifting, The World Is As You Dream It, Psychonavigation, The Stress-Free Habit, and Spirit of the Shuar.
John says: “We have entered one of the most important periods in human history, the Time of Prophecies. We have the opportunity to lift ourselves to new levels of consciousness. This time was foretold over the past centuries around the world. Now it is up to us — you and me — to make it happen. What a wonderful gift!”