Monday, April 14, 2008

In the bookstore yesterday I noticed that there seems to be a trend in tell-all books by former manipulators of the global economy. I read what I believe to be the first of these books some time last year. It's called Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. It was a dastardly tale of adventure and deceit.

Alleged to be auto-biographical, Confessions recounts how the author was recruited by the NSA to work for a large Construction company. His task was to deliberately and significantly over-estimate the economic benefits of proposed infrastructure projects in developing countries. Using his estimates, the country would take out a loan from the World Bank with a contractual obligation that the money go directly to an American contractor. They would use the money to build the project, then find that the economic benefits fell far short of the estimates. At this point they are unable to repay the debt, and the US leverages the debt into UN votes, overly favorable trade agreements, and other forms of economic servitude. Perkins alleges this as a deliberate strategy to ensnare developing countries and ensure that they abide by our interests.

It's a compelling read, like a spy novel. It's claims are outrageous and infuriating. It's difficult to believe that it's all true, and yet, I have a nagging suspicion that it is.

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