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Globe and Money
3.04.05
Politics and Economy:
John Perkins
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Biography

John Perkins says he was for many years an "economic hit man" in the world of international finance; a function he performed by persuading Third World countries to take on large public works projects. Perkins maintains that the process not only enriched US corporations, but also put these countries in heavy debt, effectively turning them into American client states. His controversial book, CONFESSIONS OF AN ECONOMIC HIT MAN is on THE NEW YORK TIMES best seller list. David Brancaccio talks with Perkins about globalization and inequality around the world.


John Perkins

John Perkins was recruited by the National Security Agency during his last year at Boston University's School of Business Administration, 1968. He spent the next three years in the Peace Corps in South America and then in 1971 joined the international consulting firm of Chas. T. Main, a Boston-based company of 2000 employees that kept a very low profile. As Chief Economist and Director of Economics and Regional Planning at Chas. T. Main, Perkins says his primary job was to convince Less Developed Countries (LDCs) around the world to accept multibillion dollar loans for infrastructure projects and to see to it that most of this money ended up at Main, Bechtel, Halliburton, Brown and Root, and other U.S. engineering/construction companies. The loans left the recipient countries wallowing in debt and highly vulnerable to outside political and commercial interests. He documents his experience in the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller CONFESSIONS OF AN ECONOMIC HIT MAN.

Perkins resigned his position at Main in 1981. He founded and became CEO of Independent Power Systems, pioneering technologies that promoted the use of "waste" power plant heat in hydroponic greenhouses and other cogeneration applications. In 1990, he sold IPS and founded a nonprofit organization, Dream Change Coalition, which works closely with Amazonian and other indigenous people to help preserve their environments and cultures.

Previous books by John Perkins include SHAPESHIFTING, THE WORLD IS AS YOU DREAM IT, PSYCHONAVIGATION, THE STRESS-FREE HABIT, and SPIRIT OF THE SHUAR.

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