Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Destructive Force of Predatory Capitalism

By John Perkins

The first book by John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, was awesome. He truly took you into the world of the elites and showed how they manipulate on a global scale. I was not as impressed by his second book, The Secret History of the American Empire. It seemed to be warmed up leftovers. I haven't had a chance to read his new book, Hoodwinked, yet. I did glance through the book in Barnes & Noble and notice that he gives props in the book to the two great economists, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. I don't recall him mentioning either in his first two books, so he is learning.-rw UPDATE: I have had a chance to take a further look at Perkin's new book and, though he uses the term predatory capitalism, he doesn't seem to differentiate between "predatory capitalism" and simple free market capitalism. At points he condemns them both as though they are the same thing. He makes the same mistakes that Michael Labeit pointed out Michael Moore makes.

Whenever I hold my two-year old grandson, Grant, in my arms I wonder what this world will look like six decades from now, when he is my age. I know that if we "stay the course" it will be ugly. The current economic meltdown is a harbinger.

Panama's chief of government, Omar Torrijos, foresaw this meltdown and understood its implications back in 1978, when I was an economic hit man (EHM). He and I were standing on the deck of a sailing yacht docked at Contadora Island, a safe haven where U.S. politicians and corporate executives enjoyed sex and drugs away from the prying eyes of the international press. Omar told me that he was not about to be corrupted by me. He said that his goal was to set his people free from "Yankee shackles," to make sure his country controlled the canal, and to help Latin America liberate itself from the very thing I represented and he referred to as "predatory capitalism."

"You know," he added, "what I'm suggesting will ultimately benefit your children too." He explained that the system I was promoting where a few exploited the many was doomed. "The same as the old Spanish Empire -- it will implode." He took a drag off his Cuban cigar and exhaled the smoke slowly, like a man blowing a kiss. "Unless you and I and all our friends fight the predatory capitalists," he warned, "the global economy will go into shock." He glanced across the water and then back at me. "No permitas que te engaƱen," he said ("Don't allow yourself to be hoodwinked.")

Three decades later, Omar is dead, likely assassinated because he refused to succumb to our attempts to bring him around, but his words ring true. For that reason I chose one of them as the title of my latest book, Hoodwinked.

We have been hoodwinked into believing that a mutant form of capitalism espoused by Milton Friedman and promoted by President Reagan and every president since - one that has resulted in a world where less than 5% of us (in the United States) consume more than 25% of the resources and nearly half the rest live in poverty - is acceptable.

In fact, it is an abject failure. The only way China, India, Africa and Latin America can adopt this model is if they find five more planets just like ours, except without people.

Most of us understand what my grandson does not--that his life is threatened by the crises generated during our watch. The question is not about prevention. It is not about retuning to "normal." Nor is it about getting rid of capitalism.

Read the rest here.

John Perkins is former chief economist at a major international consulting firm. His Confessions of an Economic Hit Man spent 70 weeks the New York Times bestseller list. His website is and his Twitter ID is


  1. I am very new to your blog, I guess I've read about 3 posts so far. I might be taking this wrong but are you one of those that thinks Capitalism is evil?
    If so what system is it that you support ?

    I'm not trying to be a troll I don't make comments enough to warrant the comment account.

  2. Capitalism is cool. The US is

    A. predatory capitalism

    B. an oligarchy

    C. corporatism

    Take your choice, but it is not pure capitalism.

  3. Speaking of predators, Goldman Sachs had two board members in attendance at the Obama state dinner last night:

  4. To Anonymous:
    Keep reading the blog, read through the old posts, read the new ones.

    What you'll find is sensible, straight-forward analysis of the US and world economies and what is happening behind the scenes. You'll actually know more than your congressional representative about economics and the consequences of the FED and congressional/presidential actions because of this site.

    To say, "the emperor has no clothes" doesn't mean you hate jeans.

  5. John Perkins first book pissed me off. It was cool but he just didn't get it. He also didn't seem as apologetic as he should've been for participating in all of that. It was kind of a "evil when everyone else does it" type thing.