Recently my gringo neighbor, Steve, a retired education professor from San Francisco, lent me a copy of Perkins’ book, “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”, of which I had read and had been wanting to read. Though it contains some revealing information of the nefarious deeds of the USA government, acting through its consulting corporate subsidiaries, in Indonesia, Panama, Saudi Arabia, and Ecuador, the book seems more an effort to assuage his conscience for his career as a whore for what he refers to as “the corporatocracy.”
Those who don’t understand that the combine of the USA government and multi-national corporations purposely act in concert, through supposedly multi-national lending institutions and USA government agencies, to place poorer nations of the world in permanent debt so as to compel their subjugation to the interests of the corporatocracy, or those who wish to understand the specific means to that end, should read at least the first two hundred, or so, pages.
Having attained a degree in business administration from Boston University and married, in the late ’60s Perkins was facing the military draft and a likely trip to Vietnam, a war to which he says he was opposed. Perkins’ father-in-law, an engineer with the Department of the Navy, arranged through a friend, “Uncle Frank”, for Perkins to interview for a position as a spy with the National Security Agency (NSA), which would have deferred him from the draft. Instead Perkins and his wife applied for and were accepted a Peace Corps volunteers and were stationed in Ecuador (which college graduate Perkins initially thought was a country in Africa.)
While in Ecuador Perkins was contacted by a vice-president of Chas. T. Main, Inc., an engineering consulting company headquartered in Boston. The MAIN vice-president indicated he was the company’s liaison to the NSA. Subsequently Perkins provided MAIN with regular reports of “Ecuador’s economic prospects.”
Subsequent to his Peace Corps service Perkins went to work for MAIN as an economist, a vocation for which his pursuance of a Business Administration degree, he writes, “had not prepared” him. Shortly after beginning his MAIN career he was approached in the Boston Public Library while studying Kuwait at the suggestion of his MAIN recruiter, Perkins was approached by a mysterious woman, “Claudine Martin”, who identified herself as a “Special Consultant” to MAIN.
Martin ultimately took to training Perkins for his career as an “Economic Hit Man”, in a Boston apartment which Perkins subsequently learned had not been rented in her name. Nor was Perkins ever to again locate Martin. Martin told Perkins that her job was “to mold [him] into an economic hit man”, that “no one can know about your involvement”, and that “once you’re in, you’re in for life.”
Martin explained to Perkins that his job was “first….to justify huge international loans that would funnel money back to MAIN and other U.S. companies (such as Bechtel, Halliburton, Stone & Webster, and Brown & Root) through massive engineering and construction projects.” and “Second …work to bankrupt the countries that received those loans (after they had paid MAIN and the other U.S. contractors, of course) so that they would be forever beholden to their creditors, and so they would present easy targets when we needed favors, including military bases, UN votes, or access to oil and other natural resources.” Thus began Perkins’ whoresome career.
Perkins first assignment was to produce wildly inflated economic projections of the economic benefits of reconstructing and augmenting Indonesia’s electrical generation, transmission, and distribution system. An assignment to which he eagerly took, though he understood his work would exacerbate already extreme Indonesian poverty and would literally kill poor Indonesians that his work would further marginalize.
Perkins subsequently plied his trade of killing poor people and enriching selected oligarchs in Panama, Ecuador, and Iran and also in a convoluted system for returning Saudi Arabian petro-dollars to the USA through a scheme to which he and his colleagues cynically referred to as “The Saudi Arabian Money Laundering Affair.”
Perkins left his ten year career with MAIN, claiming that his conscience got the best of him. Writing that, while enjoying the riches his MAIN employment has brought him by cruising his yacht in the Caribbean historically used by slave traders, he recognized that he “too had been a slaver.”
Despite the bout with his conscience that cause him to resign, Perkins resumed work for MAIN as a consultant at three time his previous salary, and became a “highly paid expert witness-primarily for U. S. electric utility companies seeking to have new power plants approved for construction by public utility commissions.” Amongst his assignments was “justifying, under oath, the economic feasibility of the ….. Seabrook nuclear power plant” in New Hampshire.
Later, in the wake of the federal PURPA act, Perkins started an independent power production company, in which a number of powerful banks and engineering firm rather mysteriously invested. When he later sold his business to a large oil company and decided to write a tell all book, he was seduced into a lucrative position with Stone & Webster, upon the promise that Perkins would not write the book.
Perkins made a career as a whore to the rich and powerful assisting in their pursuits to become even richer and more powerful. He was informed by Claudine at the beginning of his career that he was to act dishonestly and that his service would harm poor people. He knew that he was killing poor people in Indonesia, Panama, Ecuador, and other places he worked. He knew that “jackals” employed by the CIA, who moved in when economic hit men failed in their assignments, had killed Panama president Torrijos and Ecuadorian president Roldos. He knew that the mysterious investments in his energy company were intended to keep him quiet. And he knew likewise the Stone & Webster employment offer.
Despite the fact he knew and despite his claims of his conflicted conscience, at every turn in his career Perkins chose the route of the “sell out”, “prostitute”, or “traitor”, as he puts it throughout the book.
None-the-less, Perkins has the gall to sanctimoniously indicate in his preface that “This book is written so that we may take heed and remold our story. I am certain that when enough of us aware of how we are being exploited by the economic engine that creates an insatiable appetite for the world’s resources, and results in systems that foster slavery we will no longer tolerate it.”