In his controversial book, John Perkins tells the gripping tale of the years he spent working for an international consulting firm where his job was to convince underdeveloped countries to accept enormous loans, much bigger than they really needed, for infrastructure development--and to make sure that the development projects were contracted to U. S. multinationals. Once these countries were saddled with huge debts, the American government and the international aid agencies allied with it were able, by dictating repayment terms, to essentially control their economies. It was not unlike the way a loan shark operates--and Perkins and his colleagues didn't shun this kind of unsavory association. They referred to themselves as "economic hit men."
This is a story of international political intrigue at the highest levels. For over a decade Perkins traveled all over the world--Indonesia, Panama, Ecuador, Columbia, Saudi Arabia, Iran--and worked with men like Panamanian president Omar Torrijos, who became a personal friend. He helped implement a secret scheme that funneled billions of Saudi petrodollars back into the U. S. economy, and that further cemented the intimate relationship between the Islamic fundamentalist House of Saud and a succession of American administrations. Perkins' story illuminates just how far economic hit men were willing to go, and unveils the real causes of some of the most dramatic developments in recent history, such as the fall of the Shah of Iran and the invasions of Panama and Iraq. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, which many people urged Perkins not to write, is a blistering attack on a little-known phenomenon that has had dire consequences for both the lesser-developed countries and for American democracy.