The global economy has so many nefarious players pulling strings in all directions. Manipulation in our financial markets, which impacts the interest rate on your mortgage, price you pay for a loaf of bread and the cost to fill up with gas, is rampant. Bribery, blackmail, prostitution and even murder have played a role in getting international business deals done for decades. You’ll learn about all this when you read ‘The New Confessions of an Economic Hitman’ by John Perkins. It’s the ‘new’ version because it’s an expansion of his first one (which I also read) to reflect what has taken place since the financial crisis.
There are people known as ‘economic hitmen‘ and ‘jackals’ who play pivotal roles, behind the scenes, in forcing the hand of vulnerable world leaders to sell their country’s future out. According to Perkins, who himself was a former economic hitman, powerful nations like the United States have been preying on resource-rich poorer countries for decades, signing them into deals that all but guaranteed their natural resources would be pillaged. And if they refused… well, blackmail, or worse, would often ensue.
Although quite dark, The New Confessions of an Economic Hitman is a page turner. 330 plus pages and I read it over a weekend. I think it is important every entrepreneur and investor read because it teaches to peel back the layers and provides better understanding of how global markets work and why certain countries have inked blatantly unfavourable deals for their natural resources. It also explains why many exploited countries often have knee-jerk reactions after being used by economic hitmen and turn to socialism and nationalization, a la Venezuela.
As investors, we like to think we know what’s going on in the global economy. We have to be well-read in order to make good trades. However, what we read in the mainstream media isn’t the real story oftentimes. Deals don’t just happen between countries for the good of mankind. And there’s nothing free about ‘free trade agreements’. Read the book and you’ll learn all about the backroom deals that take place every day.
It may seem crazy for a poor country to do it, but refusing aid after a devastating natural disaster from foreign nations can sometimes be a brilliant decision. Rarely does ‘aid’ come without strings attached. It’s often used as a tool to garner influence and assets of vulnerable countries. It goes back to the famous quote by former Obama and Bill Clinton sidekick and now Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” Western nations have been using ‘aid’ to garner influence in other countries for decades.
Although many of us are aware of the tight connections between government and the banking industry, Perkins reveals just how the revolving door, from bureaucrat to banker, works. It’s alarming to see just how set up the whole process is. Even though I knew it happened a lot, Perkins shows just how premeditated the career path of a powerful banker/bureaucrat is.
Perkins explains how ‘vulture funds’ buy countries’ debts that are in tough spots because it comes with strangulating terms. In the past, they would sit tight on that debt, anticipating it would reach a state of delinquency; and when the economy began to moderately strengthen, the vulture fund would sue the country for many times the amount owed. One vulture fund sued an African nation for $50 million even though only $8 million (including interest) was owed. Strong-arm tactics like this are very profitable for these vultures.
Under the guise of economic aid and accommodative lending for infrastructure projects and so forth, the IMF and World Bank, largely led by US initiatives, are extensions of the economic hitman system. According to Perkins, these international lenders often saddle desperate nations in debt, making them ripe for further natural resource exploitation.
These 5 things you’ll learn from reading ‘The New Confessions of an Economic Hitman’ are just the tip of the iceberg. When I read John Perkins’ first installment of this book, it literally changed the way I invest and view the world. And that’s why I think it’s must-read material for any investor and entrepreneur. Perkins explains how the global economy works and exactly how debt is used as a weapon to acquire natural resources and exploit human capital around the world. Click here to purchase your copy now.
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