Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Aug 27th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The End of Capitalism as We Know It

ae_hoodwinkedFormer Economic Hitman John Perkins discusses the role of economic violence in global capitalism and the need to change the system

Poverty is the worst form of violence.” Gandhi made this observation 50 years ago, when the modern art of economic violence was in its infancy. This form of control has since been perfected by Economic Hitmen (EHM) like John Perkins who have gone to countries like Panama and Iran to strong-arm governments into taking huge loans from financial institutions like The World Bank.

In the book, “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” (2004) Perkins revealed his spy-like lifestyle and how he was recruited to be chief economist for a consulting firm that served as surrogate for the National Security Administration (NSA). He realized the loans he was pushing caused poverty and not prosperity in developing nations, benefiting only the ruling class of those countries and the United States contractors hired to complete projects like building dams in South America. As the old story goes, the rich got richer. Perkins is the author of seven other books including “The World is As You Dream It” and his latest, “Hoodwinked,” which offers a blueprint for a new form of global economics.

Perkins will speak on “The American Empire, the Future, and You: A Call to Action” at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14 at Cabrillo College’s Crocker Theatre. GT recently spoke with Perkins about capitalism, shamanism and the occupy movement.

Good Times:  As an EHM, how did you use economic violence to affect governments and people?

John Perkins: Economic Hitmen have created the world’s first truly global empire and for the first time in history have done it primarily without the military. We’d identify a country that has resources our corporations covet—like oil—and arrange a huge loan to that country from the World Bank or one of its sisters. The money never goes to the people of the country. It goes to one of our own corporations to build big projects in that country that benefit a few wealthy families ae_hoodwinked2and our corporations.  And the people are left holding a debt that they can’t repay.  Then we go back and say, “Well, you can’t pay your debt, so sell your resources real cheap to these corporations. Or let us build a military base on your soil.”

In the few cases where we fail, the jackals (CIA) go in and overthrow governments or assassinate leaders. I talk in my books about how I failed with Jaime Roldós of Ecuador and Omar Torrijos of Panama.  Both of those men were assassinated because I couldn’t corrupt them; I couldn’t bring them around.  In the few cases jackals also fail, like Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the military goes in as a last resort. The current president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, has said, “My people don’t owe this money. The people never had a choice.  Go find the military dictators and get them to pay!”

Is this form of economic domination still going on?

It’s happening in the United States, where it’s come home to roost. It’s sort of the same system when the banks were telling people who could only afford a $300,000 house, “Buy a $500,000 house. In five years it’ll be worth a million!” And then the market collapsed. This model is very old; it’s the feudal system of medieval Europe. There’s a castle and a lord and he’s got a bunch of knights. Outside the city are the bourgeoisie who have land at the lord’s permission and have to give him 80 percent of their crops. We’re living in that sort of system now, just a little more sophisticated.

It seems that the center of power has shifted, yes?

We’ve moved from a time when religious organizations called the geopolitical shots.  Then it moved into governments. Now it’s the big corporations.  In a way, they own the government.  They have one goal: to maximize profit regardless of environmental and social cost.

Do you envision a better model than Capitalism?

The U.S. economy is based on killing people. The next level down is based on passing paper; mergers and acquisitions.  Below that is producing a lot of trinkets. Five percent of the world’s population living in the U.S. consumes 30 percent of the world’s resources while half the world is starving or on the verge. That’s a failure. You can’t call it a model. We need to help people produce food more efficiently, clean up the terrible pollution and create better means of transporting ourselves. The system we have I call predatory capitalism. We need to change the system.

Tell me about the process of waking up to your role in this and how you got out.

I’d been in the Peace Corps (1968) and had seen the people down river from the dams. I lived in the Amazon with the Shuar people. As time went on it became more and more disturbing to me. But the job was very seductive; travel first class, the best hotels, wine and dine with presidents and beautiful women. Even when I began to see the truth, it was still tempting to listen to Robert McNamara, president of the World Bank, when he patted me on the back and said, “You’re doing a great job. You’re saving the world.” I was in for 10 years. I eventually had to admit that what I was doing was a modern form of slavery.

Tell me about what you learned from indigenous people in South America.

The shamans teach us that we are all energy. When we feel fear or anger, the important thing is how do you channel that energy into action? I’m very angry at my country and the corporations. I channel that energy into writing books and giving lectures.

What advice would you offer future whistleblowers?

I started writing a book and contacted other ECM and jackals to get their stories. I started receiving anonymous phone calls that were threatening me and my daughter’s life. I didn’t write the book. But on 9/11 I was looking at the smoldering pit and I knew I had to write “Confessions” and tell the world what I had done and how it’s a reason there’s so much resentment and poverty around the world. I decided I wouldn’t tell anyone what I was writing. I knew once it got published it would become my best insurance policy; any jackal knows if he shoots me, my book sales will skyrocket. I would advise anybody considering being a whistleblower to do it. But don’t threaten to do it first.

What’s your impression of the occupy movement?

This crashed economy is forcing people to see how we’ve been screwed by those who claim to be superior. The occupy movement is a huge expression of discontent. I think they’re accomplishing a great deal. And we need to take another step and come up with a new system.


John Perkins will speak at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14 at Cabrillo College’s Crocker Theatre on “The American Empire, the Future, and You: A Call to Action.” Tickets for the talk are $15-$50 and are available at rcnv.org or 423-1626. For more information, see johnperkins.org and dreamchange.org. John Malkin is a local musician, writer and host of “The Great Leap Forward”at 7 p.m. Wednesdays on Free Radio Santa Cruz, 101.1 FM and freakradio.org.
Comments (2)Add Comment
...
written by Wallace Wood, November 10, 2011
We need to know the facts of what is going on in our own backyard in the Americas.
We need to know what change is going on around the world and why people's protests have erupted.
We need to know what our money has done in making war and making business for 10 years
If John Perkins has the facts, let's hear him tell us.
If his book has them, let's read it.
If change is in the air, let's do it while we still can.
...
written by zoraya, November 08, 2011
poverty the dreaded word, the ''thing'' no one in their right mind want to became part of.
I believe there is a root for everything and consequences for every action we do or support in life.
what is ugly about poverty is when the spirit gets rotten and destroyed by it.
sometimes people who are not physically poor show poverty of spirit. many times over people
blame lack of material goods for the reason they have became spiritually destroyed.
and of course we have the real greedy corps who care about no one much less about the roots of anything.
as long as there be vices there will be greed. as long as there is fear there will be violence because it will always enhance it since the two are different faces of the same coin.
overpopulation will always enhance pollution.
greed will always be the wheel that turn vices, violence into a way of life.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Meaning of ‘LIFE’

With a new documentary film about his work, and huge exhibits on both coasts, acclaimed Santa Cruz nature photographer Frans Lanting is having a landmark year. But his crusade for conservation doesn’t leave much time for looking back

 

Seasons of Opportunity

Everything in our world has a specific time (a season) in which to accomplish a specific work—a “season” that begins (opportunity) and ends (time’s up). I can feel the season is changing. The leaves turning colors, the air cooler, sunbeams casting shadows in different places. It feels like a seasonal change has begun in the northern hemisphere. Christmas is in four months, and 2015 is swiftly speeding by. Soon it will be autumn and time for the many Festivals of Light. Each season offers new opportunities. Then the season ends and new seasons take its place. Humanity, too, is given “seasons” of opportunity. We are in one of those opportunities now, to bring something new (Uranus) into our world, especially in the United States. Times of opportunity can be seen in the astrology chart. In the U.S. chart, Uranus (change) joins Chiron (wound/healing). This symbolizes a need to heal the wounds of humanity. Uranus offers new archetypes, new ways of doing things. The Uranus/Chiron (Aries/Pisces) message is, “The people of the U.S. are suffering. New actions are needed to bring healing and well-being to humanity. So the U.S. can fulfill its spiritual task of standing within the light and leading humanity within and toward the light.” Thursday, Aquarius Moon, Mercury enters Libra. The message, “To bring forth the new order in the world, begin with acts of Goodwill.” Goodwill produces right relations with everyone and everything. The result is a world of progressive well-being and peacefulness (which is neither passive nor the opposite of war). Saturday is the full moon, the solar light of Virgo streaming into the Earth. Our waiting now begins, for the birth of new light at winter solstice. The mother (hiding the light of the soul, the holy child), identifying the feminine principle, says, “I am the mother and the child. I, God (Father), I Matter (Mother), We are One.”

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

His Dinner With David

Author + reporter = brainy talk in ‘End of the Tour’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Land of Plenty

Farm to Fork benefit dinner for UCSC’s Agroecology Center, plus a zippy salsa from Teresa’s Salsa that loves every food it meets

 

If you knew you had one week to live, what would you do?

Make peace with myself, which would allow me to be at peace with others. Diane Fisher, Santa Cruz, Network Engineer

 

Comanche Cellars

Michael Simons, owner and winemaker of Comanche Cellars, once had a trusted steed called Comanche, which was part of his paper route and his rodeo circuit, from the tender age of 10. In memory of this beautiful horse, he named his winery Comanche, and Comanche’s shoes grace the label of each handcrafted bottle.

 

Cantine Winepub

Aptos wine and tapas spot keeps it casual