Dan's Reviews > Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins
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's review
Aug 13, 2007

it was ok
Recommended for: hippies, anti globalization folks, people curious about the controversy
Read in March, 2005

This book is autobiographical by a former economist for the world bank. He describes how he undermined the economies and governments of third world countries by making wildly optimistic projections about their growth as to facilitate getting them into debt to first world countries. There is lots of personal cloak and dagger type anecdotes about how he was supposedly trained by the NSA.

This book is written simply and it reads quickly. The writing in simplistic and narrative. Although it is supposedly nonfiction, it lacks sufficient citations and background information. The most damning testimony that this book gives is given as personal experience and lacks any hard or verifiable evidence. As such, this book makes very harsh accusations and criticisms of The US Government, and the World Bank, but does not sufficiently back them up. Also, I got the feeling that there was a lot of untrue information being purported as fact in this book. Definitely a digression at the end of the book about the value of new age philosophies and transcendental meditation undermined the credibility of the author significantly.

The only redeeming quality about this book is that it gives some solid and reasonable explanation to the complaints about globalization voiced by the stinky hippies and ultra left in America. Basically, explaining that first world countries engage in predatory lending to developing nations. This is believable and makes some sense, although I doubt the reality is nearly as bad as the author makes it seem in this book.

I read this book because the description on the back looked really cool. I was disappointed.
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message 4: by Breck (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:36PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Breck 1) The author was never an economist with the World Bank, he worked at the private development firm MAIN.

2) The author's criticisms and allegations are directed towards a far more subtle and widespread system than the US government and World Bank alone.

3) The author never mentions Transcendental Meditation or offers any value judgments on "new age philosophies". He recounts an indigenous South American myth, and likens it to other similar myths, but uses it as a metaphor for possible positive change, and is very careful not to pronounce it "true" in any literal sense.

4) "Stinky hippies"? Really?

More careful reading and more mature writing will serve you better in the future, should you continue to post reviews here.

message 3: by Dan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:36PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Dan 1) I never said he was employed directly by the World Bank, I said he worked *for* the World Bank. According to the book, MAIN did work for the World Bank. I'm sorry that I didn't want to go into too much detail in my cursory online review. If I realized that this was a peer reviewed journal of literature I would have chosen my words more carefully.

2) Be that as it may, his most damning criticism falls back on things he saw or discussions he had (or so he claims.) He does not sufficiently cite this or provided verifiable corroborating evidence.

3) In my paperback edition which boasts "With New Material From The Author" "New Age" is mentioned explicitly in the epilogue (on pg 281) as in: "Tries to assuage conscience by writing books about indigenous peoples, supporting nonprofit organizations, teaching at New Age forums, traveling to the Amazon and the Himalayas, meeting with the Dalai Lama." I'm sorry, I misunderstood devoting his time to such causes as a value judgement. I may have been wrong about the digression at the end discussing transcendental meditation, but I found that out by visiting his website. And yes, using indigenous South American myths hurts his credibility, at least to me. At the very least it is an unapt and inapropriate metaphor. At the worst it is an attempt to back up his thesis with nonfactual sentimentality.

4) It's a joke. I'm sorry you lost your sense of humour. If you look around for it, its bound to turn up somewhere.

Why don't you read MY review more carefully, as well as the book, and have a nice warm glass of more mature shut the heck up.

In all seriousness though, I criticize your criticism with the same criticism that I give the original book. Back up your points with verifiable citable evidence- this is how these things work. Furthermore, do not rely on sentimentality to argue an otherwise objective point.

"Should I continue to post here" What did you think? I was going to start crying when I read your stupid comment and be so ashamed I would never post on here again? Read my 150+ reviews and weep, sucker, how about you continue to post here, with substantial reviews like almost all of MINE are. HUH!?!

message 2: by Jason Williams (new)

Jason Williams Stinky hippies and ultra left? You need to grow up.

message 1: by Dan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Dan I don't grow up, I shut up, and when I look at you I ... uhh wait... umm, I think I screwed that one up...

So yes, the "stinky hippies" comment appears to attract alot of ire on here. So, if you read the comment thread here, I do state that I meant that as a joke. And I really did. I'm a little confused by the controversy, and I don't know why people like to leave flamey comments about it.

Also, I would like the record to show that I have been criticized for my criticism against the right and the "ultra-left" here on goodreads. Right about now it feels like the ends against the middle up in here.

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