Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

by Miguel de Icaza

I first found out about "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" from this article on CommonDreams.

My copy of the book arrived yesterday and I have not been able to put it down. The book tells the story of a man that is trained to convince third-world countries to accept large loans for developing infrastructure. This is done by creating models and projections of the prosperity that such projects would bring to their countries.

The book tells a story of money being funneled from the World Bank loans into various corporations in the United States as well as the resulting unpayable debt that remains in the country. This debt can never be canceled and it is later exchanged by land, military bases, or favoring votes in the UN. In exchange politicians who accept these terms get a popularity boost from bringing infrastructure into the country.

The trick is to predict growth in terms of the gross national product. Even if the benefit goes to a single individual and the rest of the country is impoverished as a result.

There are three stages described in the book to ensure that a country gets the debt. The first step is to convince the country leaders of the benefits that it will bring to the population and the economic growth of the country. If the leaders refuse, then a second team referred to as "the jackals" perform targeted assassinations and if this fails, then the army is sent.

Any latin american has been a witness of these loans, the constructions and the special favors going to a few companies in the past twenty years. This book offers an insight into the inner workings of this process.

John Perkins tried to write this book four times, and four times he was convinced not to. This book is the fifth encarnation.

You always suspect something is fishy when living in Latin America, and the opposition typically blames large corporations for the sketchy deals. Sometimes the stories are so incredible that you can not believe them until you find documents like The Church Report.

Gnome Artwork and Software Piracy

Jakub points out that a company who is heavily borrowing GNOME's GPLed icons for its products and its web page has some strongs words about software piracy.

Posted on 08 Jan 2005