Monday, June 11, 2007

John Perkins on "The Secret History of the American Empire

This episode of Democracy Now features an interview with John Perkins who wrote Confessions of an Economic Hitman. It's an illuminating, if discouraging, interview. It makes me wonder what chance the forces for social justice have when capitalism can function as Perkins describes:
We work many different ways, but perhaps the most common one is that we will identify a third world country that has resources our corporations covet, such as oil, and then we arrange a huge loan to that country from the World Bank or one of its sister organizations. The money never actually goes to the country. It goes instead to US corporations, who build big infrastructure projects -- power grids, industrial parks, harbors, highways -- things that benefit a few very rich people but do not reach the poor at all. The poor aren’t connected to the power grids. They don’t have the skills to get jobs in industrial parks. But they and the whole country are left holding this huge debt, and it’s such a big bet that the country can't possibly repay it. So at some point in time, we economic hit men go back to the country and say, “Look, you know, you owe us a lot of money. You can't pay your debt, so you’ve got to give us a pound of flesh.”
Here's the Democracy Now interview with Perkins from November 2004.

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