I know I'm a bit late on this, but I just finished reading John Perkins' book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (CEHM), and I loved it. I can't say that I'm surprised by his book so much as enlightened. The book is basically a memoir chronicling his role as an Economic Hit Man (EHM) which he describes as, "highly paid professionals who cheat countries aroudn the globe out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the Word Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other foreign 'aid' organizations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planet's natural resources. Their tools include fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder" (xi). Part of Perkins' redemption is the writing of this book. It is his tell-all expose. He explains how and why he bought into the system and why he got out.
I say that I'm not surprised because these methods of advancing the American Empire are not new, just more sophisticated. Ancient Empires around the world have used each of the tactics (with the possible exception of "fraudulent financial reports") to further their power. Also, because of my education at Ozark Christian College and the focus on world evangelism, I have been exposed to missionaries from all over the globe. I have heard from missionaries who see first hand the affects of the American Empire. Missionaries have shown me statistics on poverty and hunger. In addition to missionaries, my education in the NT has helped me to recognize the danger of "the powers and authorities." Through studying Paul and Jesus I have seen the politics of evil. I have even had the privilege to visit a third world country and see the affects of the American Gospel of capitalism and "free-trade."
Aside from confirming what I already knew, what I found most interesting about the book is how the American Empire uses completely legal means to further its global dominance, and how no one, in America, seems to care. The ideology that underwrites these practices is at the very core of American economics, "the idea that all economic growth benefits humankind and that the greater the growth, the more widespread the benefits" (xv). This idea just isn't true. "Over half the people in the world survive on less than two dollars per day, which is roughly the same amount they received in the early 1970s. Meanwhile, the top 1 percent of third world households accounts for 70 to 90 percent of all private financial wealth and real estate ownership in their country" (xxii).
Using multinational banks and major engineering corporations the United States has raped and pillaged the natural resources of the world. "With less than 5 percent of the world's population, we [the United States] produce almost a quarter of its greenhouse-gas emissions. We consume nearly a third of the world's electricity (mostly from coal) and 43 percent of its gasoline" (Paul Schell and Denis Hayes, Seattle Times, December 29,1999). Foreign policy is dictated by oil and the corporations who will use any means necessary to have it. CEHM is a revealing book. It shows that, "No one had to be bribed or threatened--they had already been recruited by comapnies, banks, and government agencies. The bribes consisted of salaries, bonuses, pensions, and insurance policies; the threats were based on social mores, peer pressure, and unspoken questions about the future of their children's education" (240).
I recently had a discussion with a friend regarding Christian pacifism. He asked me, "How can we be against Christians fighting in the military and not be against Christians being employed by corporations that exploit the world?"
I looked at him and said, "I don't know."