Monday, July 6, 2009

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

This past weekend was the Fourth of July. This past weekend, I have never been more disappointed in my country. On Sunday, July 5, I finished reading Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. I believe every American should read this book. And my only disappointment is that it took me so long before someone gave it to me and told me to read it.

The author, John Perkins, worked as an economic hit man for many years before he finally decided to get out of the business and write a book about how his career and the strategies of the United States were enslaving the rest of the world.

Economic hit men are, in brief, men from U.S. private corporations who are sent into other countries to propose enormous construction and development contracts that will supposedly create great economic prosperity for the country. However, what actually occurs is that the country incurs enormous amounts of debt to the United States and therefore become like slaves to the U.S. and expand what Perkins called the U.S. empire.

Before reading this book, I had a basic idea that these kinds of things were happening. I knew that the CIA had been used to overthrow many world leaders and further American interests. But I didn't know how intricate this system was.

And the worst part about it is we fund this system. We by clothes from places that are run by the labor of underpaid workers in sweatshops across the world. We turn our eyes away from unjust wars and unprovoked attacks on other countries. We shut our ears from the outcries of so many other countries and pretend that our oil addiction contributes to the prosperity of oil-rich nations, when in reality, our oil addiction is sending them into the most impoverished conditions.

Although I have no facts to back this up, I began questioning world events and whether or not they were supported by this "empire" system. Are the destruction of Indian slums and therefore the displacement of its inhabitants being funded by U.S. contractors? Was the recent ousting of Honduras' leader the result of a discontent population or a CIA agent?

But then I started thinking about the direction our country is headed, and how our past does not have to determine our future. We can stop supporting places that make their money from sweatshops. We can refuse to elect leaders who will fund military invasions of other countries. We can cut back on our oil consumption.

We can change. But it will take work. And I would recommend that you first read this book. It will open our eyes to a whole new world and allow you to see the country that you call home in a whole other light. We can change the connotation "American" has in other countries. And I hope that day comes sooner than later, for the sake of ourselves and the world.