Good Reads: Economic Hit Man coming to Tahoe (to speak)
July 17, 2008
(Economic Hit Men) play a game as old as empire, but one that has taken on new and terrifying dimensions during this time of globalization. I should know; I was an EHM. John Perkins, in his preface to Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
Although it reads like a spy thriller, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins is pure non-fiction. Perkins had considered writing this book several times over the past 25 years, but each time he was either persuaded or bribed to refrain from writing about his professional experiences. That was until the events of Sept. 11, 2001, creating a profound reaction in him. To understand the book, let me tell you something about John Perkins, himself, for this is his story, his reality, his experiences. Starting his higher education at Middlebury College, he graduated from Boston Universitys School of Business Administration in the 1960s and then served in the Peace Corps, both in the Amazon and the Andes. In the 1970s, he was the U. S. Representative to the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency. From 1971 to 1981, Perkins was the Chief Economist of the International Consulting firm Chas. T. Main, and by 1975 he was their whiz kid, becoming the youngest partner in Mains 100 year history. As an extremely well paid Economic Hit Man (EHM), he was sent abroad under government contracts to convince leaders of developing nations, places of strategic importance to the U.S., such as Iran, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Panama, Ecuador, etc., to accept enormous loans from the United States. The money would then be used to pay American companies to build local infrastructure and other projects. So while the American corporations were profiting from these loans, the countries were sinking into overwhelming debt. The poorest people who benefited least from these projects were the ones stuck with the responsibility for payment. These countries usually became U.S. puppet regimes, open to American corporate manipulation. If a leader refused to play the game, the consequences could be lethal. As Perkins states, It was blatant economic blackmail, where your best buddy turns out to be the vindictive loan shark.He resigned his position at Main when depression and guilt overtook him; he felt it was morally and ethically wrong to play such a key role in creating an international empire at the expense of the poor and less advantaged around the world. Two years later he became the founder and CEO of Independent Power Systems (IPS), a U.S. energy company that was committed to producing electricity with environmentally beneficial technologies. It went on to revolutionize the utility industry in the 1980s. He is now Chairman of the Board of the non-profit Dream Change, an organization dedicated to creating more aware and compassionate societies and to helping indigenous people around the world protect their cultures and environments. John has served as consultant to the World Bank, United Nations, and Fortune 500 corporations. He has lived and worked in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. He has studied extensively with indigenous profits and shamans, and has taught at universities and learning centers on four continents. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, often shocking, definitely an eye-and-mind-opener, takes you through the detailed behind-the-scenes historical scenarios, as Perkins claims to have experienced them, from the eyes and ears of an EHM. He also exposes his inner journey from servant of the empire to impassioned advocate for the rights of oppressed people. He repeatedly emphasizes that the dynamics he describes are systemic and specifically not the result of conspiracy: Although unconscious, deceived and, in many cases, self-deluded, these players were not members of any clandestine conspiracy; rather, they were the product of a system that promotes the most subtle and effective form of imperialism the world has ever witnessed. We are fortunate in Incline Village to be the home base for READ GLOBAL, an award-winning, local non-profit which is breaking barriers to global literacy and sustainable community development by pairing non-profit libraries with for-profit businesses. This past year they began sponsoring an ongoing series here that highlights extraordinary individuals from around the globe. Their inspirational stories show what it takes to change the world! On Tuesday, July 22 at 6 p.m. READ GLOBAL will be hosting a public presentation with John Perkins entitled Breaking the Boundaries in Government Corruption at Sierra Nevada College Prim Library in Incline Village. You will have an opportunity to hear John Perkins speak about the secret history of the American empire (the title of his latest book), whats next and his recommendations on how to change it. The event will also include a raffle and a cash bar. Tickets are $10 in advance/ $15 at the door/ $10 students, and all proceeds from the event will go toward supporting READ GLOBALs mission. Call (775) 832-5032 to reserve your tickets and go online info@READ Global.org to learn more about the organization.
Wall Gallery: Jarvis Photography Gallery Display Cases: Jarvis Photography GalleryAfter School Story Time: Tuesdays, 4 4:30 p.m.Family Story Time: Thursdays, 10:30 11 a.m.Ongoing through August Catch the reading bug and sign up for the Summer Reading Club at Incline Village Library. Log your reading minutes to earn free books and fun prizes throughout the summer.Saturday, July 19 4 5 p.m. Hill Tribes, Halong Bay and the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Join Dr. Antonia Neubauer, president of award-winning adventure company Myths and Mountains, on a fascinating journey to Southeast Asias hottest destination Vietnam. Toni shares the joys of exploring Vietnam, from the people of the colorful hill tribes to the jewel-like coves of Halong Bay and the engrossing behind-the-scenes story of the Ho Chi Minh Trail.Wednesday, July 23 4 5 p.m. Paper Metamorphosis. Join craft diva Sandra Beckerman as we transform a single piece of paper into a unique album for writing, photos, or scrapbooking. Bring your photos and creativity and well provide supplies, snacks, and fun. Teens.Thursday, July 24 1 – 2:30 p.m. Holocaust survivor Ela Stein Weissberger speaks about her experience at the Terezin Concentration Camp in the Czech Republic.
July 18: William Makepeace Thackeray (1811) Hunter S. Thompson (1937)July 19: Stephen Coonts (1946)July 19: John Newbery (1713)July 20: Thomas Friedman (1935)July 21: Michael Connelly (1956) Ernest Hemingway (1899) July 22: S.E. (Susan Eloise) Hinton (1948) Tom Robbins (1936)July 23: Raymond Chandler (1888)July 24: John McDonald (1916)
Adults (fiction): Skeletons at the Feast by Chris BohjalianYoung Adult (ages 13-17): Dune by Frank Herbert Juvenile (4th-6th grade): Red Card and Green Streak by Daniel J. Hale and Matthew LeBrotChildren (2nd-3rd grade): Dragon Rider by Cornelia FunkeBooks for Book Clubs: Away by Amy Bloom