A couple of days ago I was part of  a group that met at the Dayton International Peace Museum to discuss John Perkins’ book "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” in which he relates his role in convincing various poor nations to accept loans

In the past I had read about various loans from the World Bank and the IMF, which instead of helping poor people in other countries, actually increased their suffering.  This happened because these nations were not able to repay their loans and the banks, in the process of renegotiating them, successfully demanded that these nations reduce or eliminate their small-scale social programs as a part of "structural adjustment." It was  difficult for me to completely understand why they could not repay the loans, although I knew that it was likely that some of the loans had gone into the pockets of the ruling oligarchy in some nations.

Perkins’ book goes a long way toward further unraveling the mystery of why those nations defaulted on the loans. He reveals that he had the job of traveling to some nations to convince their leaders to accept these loans. He did this with a team of people who made detailed economic studies of those nations and deliberately made false predictions of high growth rates, which convinced the leaders that the profits would be ample to repay the loans.  When the growth rates were actually much smaller than anticipated they were not able to repay them.   As the leader of a team, Perkins knew that this would happen, but he says that many of the people in the organization he worked for thought that the loans were being made for altruistic purposes. 

Further, the funds from the loans often found their way ultimately into the coffers of U.S. corporations, which frequently were responsible for carrying out the so-called economic expansion of those nations.

What I had previously learned about these loans was never through the mainstream press.  I knew, for example that the assassinations or assassination attempts against foreign leaders by U.S. operatives probably intimidated many other leaders. But Perkins is more specific; he mentions that two leaders who refused the loans were killed mysteriously by the "jackals." a term used by him. A secondary technique, after the "jackals," was military intervention, according to him.  

This summary does not do justice to the depth of this book which contains much other information helpful to those who want to broaden their understanding of the role of our nation in the world. It also contains other insights, including how he gradually was able, with some setbacks, to make a total break with this system.

The media, which is predominantly controlled by corporations linked to U.S. power in the world, has largely ignored other books on this subject.  But this one is different - someone from within the system wrote it.  As a result, it has become a best seller and has even been reviewed by the New York Times. 

This book is also a piece of the answer to another puzzle: about why the U.S. is so hated in many parts of the world.   It can be a tool for educating the public about the reasons for this. If it contributes, as a result, to the rollback of various facets of U.S. imperialism and toward an improved standard of living throughout the world, the “ugly American” will fade from the world scene and the threat of terrorism toward our nation will eventually evaporate.  John Perkins offers us more hope at this point than do U.S. leaders whose responses so far are only moving us closer to becoming a fascist state.