Leon's Reviews > Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins
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's review
Dec 26, 2007

it was ok
bookshelves: biography
Read in December, 2007

Stiglitz already laid out the basic modus operandi of the Washington Consensus -- coercing impoverished nations by saddling them with cripping debts. But Stiglitz was never one of those pounding the ground, meeting people and writing the paperwork that the organisations in the Consensus ran on.

So Perkins' book is useful in the sense that it gives a glimpse of these operations from the point of view of someone who did the grunt work - a tiny node in an intricate network of banks, consulting firms, government agencies and private contractors.

In this sense, I recommend this book. But I would do so as a kind of reference work - one that any sensible, intelligent person ought to read.

Perkins's mea culpa has flaws as well. The account of his sins as he tells it fits the explanation of how the US inadvertently brought about 9/11 a little too nicely, and there aren't nearly enough details about how his operation really worked. Then again, there is a palpable fear of reprisals. And there is a clear sense that he's taking responsibility for his actions. As a set of "confessions", this book is fine.

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