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.