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A confession from an Economic Hit Man

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An Economiic Hit Man Reveals Why the World Financial Markets IMPLODED—and What We Need to Do to Remake Them

“John Perkins has been in and out of the world of high finance and low ethics, and in Hoodwinked he not only illuminates that world with dramatic stories and keen insights, but suggests what we might do to create a better society.”—Howard Zinn, bestselling author of A People’s History of the United States

Now in paperback, bestselling author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins pulls back the curtain on the real cause of the global economic meltdown with an all-new chapter.

Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and Countrywide didn’t collapse simply because they made unwise bets on the subprime markets. The subprime mortgage fiascos, the banking industry collapse, the rising tide of unemployment, the shuttering of small businesses across the landscape are all too familiar symptoms of a far greater disease. In his former life as an economic hit man, John Perkins was on the front lines both as an observer and a perpetrator of events, once confined only to the third world, that have now sent the United States—and in fact the entire planet—spiraling toward disaster.

In his new paperback edition, Hoodwinked: An Economic Hit Man Reveals Why the World Financial Markets IMPLODED–and What We Need to Do to Remake Them (Crown Business Paperback; $14.00), Perkins pulls back the curtain on the real cause of the current global financial meltdown. He shows how we’ve been hoodwinked by the CEOs who run the corporatocracy—those few corporations that control the vast amounts of capital, land, and resources around the globe—and the politicians they manipulate. These corporate fat cats, Perkins explains, have sold us all on what he calls “predatory capitalism,” a misguided form of geopolitics and capitalism that encourages a widespread exploitation of the many to benefit a small number of the already very wealthy (consider that CEO compensation runs to 400 times the pay of the average worker).

Their arrogance, gluttony, and mismanagement have brought us to this perilous edge.

But there is a way out. Inspired by the birth of his grandson in 2007, Perkins wrote Hoodwinked to make clear that we can create a healthy economy that will encourage businesses to act responsibly, not only in the interests of their shareholders and corporate partners (and the lobbyists they have in their pockets), but in the interests of their employees, their customers, the environment, and society at large. And he’s laid out a plan to do so—a course of action that we can take both as individuals and as a society.

If a relatively few of us, a critical mass—a tiny percentage of the population—consciously takes action, we will succeed, says Perkins. His strategy for implementing change encompasses five arenas of action:

I. How do we adopt attitudues that encourage good stewardship? Adopting Attitudes that Encourage Good Stewardship: After the Great Depression, our concept of heroism shifted. We began to see corporate executives as champions. We made icons of the likes of Donald Trump, a ruthless real estate developer, and Jack Welch, the former Chairman and CEO of GE who bragged about laying off one quarter of his company’s employees while paying himself multimillion dollar salaries. During the past four decades, we have sent a strong message of support to the modern equivalent of the robber barons. The heroes we choose guide our young people into making decisions about how they will lead their lives, and how they, as a generation will impact our economy and environment.

II. Current systems clearly are not serving the people so How are we enabling systems that work, that serve the people, that provide us with wholesome food, clean water and air, better education, affordable education without the burden of overwhelming student debt, better health systems, un-corrupted information, legal systems that work, and cooperation? How can we collectively create and develop a well-informed solutions-based media network that represents the people and not just the corporations? We can do this ourselves, you know! It is up to us to reverse the process that sprang out of the mutant virus of capitalism that infected our economy, to let our leaders know that what we truly want is wholesome food, clean water and air, healthcare, the assurance that we will be provided for after retirement, legal systems that protect us and our rights—in short, a sustainable, just world.

III. How are we creating a better economy, healthier ecosysems, collaboration and cooperatives that truly engage the people in better health and better overall systems? Creating a New Economy: Take a stroll through Wal-Mart, sift through the variety of selection decisions (Corn Flakes—with or without sugar? Or honey? Or raisins? Or strawberries?), and you’ll realize, the world is full of junk no one needs. Meanwhile a billion or more people are on the verge of starvation.

In the last few years, ten countries in Latin America have voted in new presidents who have opened the door to a new economy. They are showing the rest of us a way to combine a form of capitalism that produces things the world truly needs with the goal of making profits while creating a sustainable world.

IV. How do we enable a better understanding of how our actions impact others while accepting consumer and public responsibility? Accepting Consumer Responsibility: Paying more for products made by companies that are socially and environmentally responsible is always an investment in the future. “Sometimes, you may not be able to afford that investment,” says Perkins. “You may have to purchase the cheaper item. If that happens, at least be conscious that you’re forgoing an investment. Beyond that, make a commitment to yourself that when you can afford it, you will do the smart thing, the thing that is best for you and everyone else over the long term.”

V. How do we engage more people in demanding new rules for business and leadership so our leaders truly represent us all? Implementing New Rules for Business and Government: If we are serious about changing our current situation, we have no choice but to set up rules and regulations that prevent us from engaging in activities that melt the glaciers, pollute the oceans, and fill the air with toxins. We must let the corporations know that we want better controls. We must demand legislation to protect our economy.

We cannot afford to be lulled into complacency or allow indicators of “good news” like temporary increases in the stock market, lower oil prices, and payoffs of loans by bailed out banks soothe us into believing that things have returned to “normal.”

VI. How do we enable a higher level of consciousness amongst the masses so we can honor our individual passions and pathways—and therefore move away from dissatisfaction with our jobs and lives into passionate careers and lives? Afterall, Ordinary people who are filled with passion accomplish incredible things! Honoring our Individual Passions: Ordinary people, filled with passion, accomplish extraordinary tasks. Whether you are a carpenter, dentist, plumber, housewife, or something else, you can talk to your friends, family, and clients about the issues, join organizations that represent your passions, send emails, use materials that are environmentally and socially responsible, support politicians who take actions oriented toward future generations, vote in the marketplace for companies committed to doing the right thing, and accomplish objectives you have only dared to dream about until now.

Many books have been written about the pros and cons of Obama’s economic plan, current schemes for reforming Wall Street, and other short-term policies. These books deal with triage—the band aides we must now apply in order to stop the hemorrhaging. Hoodwinked is not about triage. It is concerned with larger issues. It addresses the disease that caused the bleeding.

And offers a cure.

JOHN PERKINS had the official title of Chief Economist at a major international consulting firm during the 1970s. He advised the World Bank, United Nations, International Monetary Fund (IMF), U.S. Treasury Department, Fortune 500 corporations, and countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. In his role as economic hit man, he worked directly with heads of state and CEOs of major companies to promote and develop the types of projects described in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, a book that spent more than sixty-five weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He has been published in over thirty languages and is required reading at universities and business schools in the United States and many other countries.

During the 1980s, he was CEO of an alternative energy company that was a pioneer in developing environmentally beneficial power plants. He devoted much of his time in the 1990s and 2000s not only to writing and lecturing, but also to establishing and supporting Dream Change, The Pachamama Alliance, and other nonprofit organizations that are committed to creating a sustainable, just, and peaceful world.

 

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Right to Repair Bill Introduced in Congress

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Hot on the heels of last week’s victory in the New York state senate, the fight for Right to Repair comes to the US Congress. Today, Congressman Joe Morelle (D-NY) introduced the first broad federal Right to Repair bill: the Fair Repair Act.

“As electronics become integrated into more and more products in our lives, Right to Repair is increasingly important to all Americans,” said Kyle Wiens, iFixit CEO. Lawmakers everywhere are realizing the need to protect our Right to Repair—along with progress in the EU and Australia, 27 US states introduced Right to Repair legislation this year, a record number.

“Every year I’ve worked on Right to Repair, it’s gotten bigger, as more and more people want to see independent repair protected,” said Gay Gordon-Byrne, Executive Director of Repair.org. Rep. Joe Morelle has been a champion for much of that journey, sponsoring legislation while in the Statehouse in Albany starting in 2015. Everywhere you go, people just want to be able to choose for themselves how to fix their stuff. You’d think manufacturers would wise up.”

Congressman Joe Morelle’s federal bill would require manufacturers to provide device owners and independent repair businesses with access to the parts, tools, and information they need to fix electronic devices.

“For too long, large corporations have hindered the progress of small business owners and everyday Americans by preventing them from the right to repair their own equipment,” said Congressman Morelle. “It’s long past time to level the playing field, which is why I’m so proud to introduce the Fair Repair Act and put the power back in the hands of consumers. This common-sense legislation will help make technology repairs more accessible and affordable for items from cell phones to laptops to farm equipment, finally giving individuals the autonomy they deserve.”

“Right to Repair just makes sense,” said Nathan Proctor, U.S. PIRG Senior Right to Repair Campaign Director. “It saves money and it keeps electronics in use and off the scrap heap. It helps farmers keep equipment in the field and out of the dealership. No matter how many lobbyists Apple, Microsoft or John Deere and the rest of the manufacturers throw at us, Right to Repair keeps pushing ahead, thanks to champions like Rep. Joe Morelle.”

“At iFixit, we believe that big tech companies shouldn’t get to dictate how we use the things we own or keep us from fixing our stuff.” said iFixit’s US Policy Lead, Kerry Maeve Sheehan. “We applaud Congressman Morelle for taking the fight for Right to Repair to Congress and standing up for farmers, independent repair shops, and consumers nationwide.”

We’re pleased to see Congress taking these problems seriously. In addition to supporting Congressman Morelle’s Fair Repair Act, we urge Congress to pass much-needed reforms to Section 1201 of the Copyright Act, to clarify that circumventing software locks to repair devices is always legal, and to expressly support the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to tackle unfair, deceptive, and anti-competitive repair restrictions.

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For a healthier planet, management must change

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Our environment sustains all life. Both human and wildlife. When habitat degrades, the lives of all that depend on it also deteriorate: poor land = poor people and social breakdown.By Sarah Savory, Zimbabwe

In Zimbabwe (like many other countries in arid areas with seasonal rainfall) we are facing the many symptoms and signs of our country’s advancing desertification: ever-increasing droughts, floods, wildfires, poverty, poaching, social breakdown, violence, mass emigration to cities, biodiversity loss and climate change. No economy can survive if we destroy our soil – the only economy that can ultimately sustain any community, or nation, is based on the photosynthetic process — green plants growing on regenerating soil.


So, if we wanted to find out the optimum way to manage our wildlife, people and economy, logically, shouldn’t we be looking at our National Parks for the best examples of what we can do for our environment? Because in national parks, we not only have the best management the world knows, we don’t have any of the issues that are normally blamed for causing desertification: ignorance, greed, corruption, corporations, livestock, coal, oil, etc. Let’s do that now…the following are all photos taken in our national parks (the first 3 were taken in May right after the rainy season when they should still be looking their best!)

As you can see from those photos, some of the worst biodiversity loss and land degradation we have in Zimbabwe is occurring IN our National Parks. But, as I pointed out, those have been run using the best management known to us and have been protected and conserved for decades. We’ve clearly been missing something…

The above 8 pictures are a mixture of National Parks and Communal Land…can you tell which is which?

We are seeing this land degradation both inside and out of our Parks because there is an over-arching and common cause of desertification that nobody has understood, or been able to successfully address, until recently.

We spend our lives blaming resources for causing the damage (coal, oil, livestock, elephants, etc) but resources are natural, so how could they possibly be to blame? Only our management of them can be causing the problem.

ALL tool using animals (including humans) automatically use a genetically embedded management framework…and every single management decision made is in order to meet an objective, a need, or to address a problem. And those decisions are made with exactly the same framework, or thought process and for exactly the same reasons, whether it is an animal or a human.

For example, a hungry otter has an objective: he wants to break open a clamshell because he needs to eat. He uses a simple tool (technology, in the form of a stone) to do so. He does this based on past experience or what he learned from his mother.

Or, the president of the United States has an objective: to put a man on the moon within a decade. He and his team use the same tool (technology, but various and more sophisticated forms of it) and base their choices on past experience, research, expert advice, and so on. It’s the same process, or framework, in both cases, only the degree of sophistication has varied.

A screen shot taken from a short video clip we took with a film crew last month, of 4 different areas, all near to each other: you will clearly see the terrible desertification in both National Parks and nearby Communal Land. In comparison, you will see a vast difference on Dibangombe, the Africa Centre For Holistic Management (our learning centre, which is only 30km from Victoria Falls.) This habitat is being regenerated for all life by simply managing holistically. Every year on this land, despite the worsening droughts, the biodiversity increases and the land and wildlife flourish.
All this footage was taken in the same area, at the same time, with the same climate, the same soils, the same wildlife and the same humans.
But different management.

To this day, this decision making process works just fine for the otter. But imagine that one day, the otter invents a machine that can crack open 1,000 clam shells a day and that all the other otters suddenly stop doing what otters are designed to do and just come to him to get their clams. They still use the decision making process but everything else has changed…that tiny advance in technology would have inadvertently set off a complex chain reaction through the whole ecosystem and there would soon be catastrophic environmental knock-on effects because the balance of the ecosystem has been upset. The ecosystem will keep trying to adjust to this change but eventually it will start to collapse. Imagine the otter started charging for the clams. Now, with every decision the otters make, in order to make sure their ecosystem didn’t collapse, they would need to be simultaneously addressing the social, environmental and economic aspects of their actions. Their management would have to evolve with the change.

This is exactly what happened to humans…As soon as our technology advanced, our management should have evolved to accommodate for it. But it didn’t.

Our natural world is rapidly collapsing all around us and we have ended up constantly chasing our tails and dealing with the symptoms and complications we’ve created. While there have been thousands of books written over the years on different types of management, if you dig a little deeper and ‘peel the onion’ the same genetically embedded framework is still inadvertently being used.

In the last 400 years, our technology has advanced faster than in all of the two hundred thousand or so years of modern human existence. Over those same few centuries, you can now see why the health of our planet has entered a breathtaking decline.  We now have the knowledge to change that…

No matter what we are managing, we cannot ever escape an inevitable web of social, economic and environmental complexity, so, in order to truly address any issue, the people and the finances have to be addressed simultaneously, not just the land itself. Isolating one particular part of the problem, or singling out a species and trying to manage it successfully, is no different from trying to isolate and manage the hydrogen in water.

With this knowledge, the Holistic Management Framework was developed. And, incredibly, it all started here in Zimbabwe, by my father, Allan Savory, an independent Zimbabwean scientist. This new decision making process ensures that no matter what we are managing, we focus on the root cause of any problem. It also makes sure that all our decisions are socially or culturally sound, economically viable and ecologically regenerative by using 7 simple filtering checks. And, it introduces us to a new, biological tool: animal impact and movement, that can be used to help us reverse desertification and regenerate our land and rivers.

This framework has received world-wide acclaim and is now being mirrored in forty three Holistic Management hubs on six continents, including the first university-led hub in the USA.

Now we can begin to understand that most of the problems we are facing in Zimbabwe today are simply symptoms of reductionist management.

Imagine that one day, someone starts to beat you really hard over the head, once a day, every day, with a cricket bat. It really hurts, and instead of trying to take the bat away from them, you just take a dispirin to deal with the headache it’s caused and carry on.

After a week, the pain will be getting much worse and the dispirin will no longer be strong enough, so you’d need a new painkiller. The stopain comes out. After a while, stopain won’t be enough, so you turn to Brufen. And so it goes on. Yet the blows continue.

Eventually, your organs will be struggling from all the medication and you’ll end up in hospital with very serious complications. The best doctors and specialists in the world are called in at great expense and they rush around treating all your worsening, and now life-threatening, symptoms. None of them can understand why you aren’t getting better – they’ve used the best medicines and procedures known. It’s because everyone is so focused on your symptoms, that nobody has looked up and seen the person standing behind you with the cricket bat.

It sounds silly when I put it like that, doesn’t it? But that is exactly what we are doing.

Our planet is in that hospital with life threatening complications, with Governments, Organisations and individuals doing their best, spending millions of dollars, often using expert advice, to find out how to treat the patient, but nobody has realised that they are only treating symptoms. Nobody has noticed the guy standing there with the bat.

The holistic management framework stops the blows to the head. As soon as we do that and the cause is being treated, all the symptoms will automatically begin to heal and fall away.

I am going to show you a screen shot taken from a short video clip we took with a film crew last month, of 4 different areas, all near to each other: you will clearly see the terrible desertification in both National Parks and nearby Communal Land. In comparison, you will see a vast difference on Dibangombe, the Africa Centre For Holistic Management (our learning centre, which is only 30km from Victoria Falls.) This habitat is being regenerated for all life by simply managing holistically. Every year on this land, despite the worsening droughts, the biodiversity increases and the land and wildlife flourish.

All this footage was taken in the same area, at the same time, with the same climate, the same soils, the same wildlife and the same humans.

But different management.

These pictures were taken on the same day on land only 30km apart in February 2018, The 2 photos on the left are Zambezi National Park and the photo on the right is Africa Centre for Holistic Management (Dibangombe)

The great news is that we can turn it all around and we don’t have the thousands of different problems we all think we do. We only have to adjust one thing. Our management.

It’s time for us to evolve from using our outdated, reductionist management framework. We need to adapt to a new way of thinking and  apply this paradigm-shifting decision  making framework so that we can all work together towards regenerating our Zimbabwe.

Culturally. Socially. Economically. Environmentally. For for our people and for our wildlife.

Let’s start by stopping the blows to the head!

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Free to Download Fight the Fire: Green New Deals and Global Climate Jobs

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Fight the Fire

Fight The Fire Book Cover

OUT NOW!

“The most compelling and concise guide to averting climate breakdown.” – Brendan Montague, editor, The Ecologist.

Download Jonathan Neale’s Fight the Fire from The Ecologist for free now.

The Ecologist has published Fight the Fire for free so that it is accessible to all.

We would like to thank our readers for donating £1,000 to cover some of the costs of publishing and promoting this book.

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