John Perkins (author)
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2008)|
Perkins in November 2009
January 28, 1945 |
Hanover, New Hampshire, United States
|Alma mater||Boston University (B.S.)|
|Notable work(s)||Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (2004)|
|Children||Jessica (b. April 1982)|
John Perkins (b. January 28, 1945) is an American author. His best known book is Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (2004), in which Perkins claims to have played a role in the process of economic colonization of Third World countries on behalf of what he portrays as a cabal of corporations, banks, and the United States government. At the time of its publication in 2006, the New York Times journalist Landon Thomas Jr. expressed concerns about Perkins' stories, stating "in the wake of the controversy over James Frey, who embellished aspects of his own best-selling tale of personal redemption, A Million Little Pieces, one feels obliged to ask: Is it all true?". Perkins has also written about mystical aspects of indigenous cultures, including shamanism.
Perkins graduated from the Tilton School in 1963. He subsequently attended Middlebury College for two years before dropping out due to lackluster grades. He later earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Boston University in 1968. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador from 1968 to 1970. He spent the 1970s working for the Boston strategic-consulting firm Chas. T. Main; he claims to have been screened for this job by the National Security Agency (NSA) and subsequently hired by Einar Greve, a member of the firm (alleged by Perkins to have been acting as an NSA liaison, a claim which Greve has denied).
Perkins's time at Chas T. Main, an engineering consultancy, provides the basis for his subsequent published claims that, as an "economic hit man", he was charged with inducing developing countries to borrow large amounts of money, designated to pay for questionable infrastructure investments, but ultimately with a view to making the debt-laden countries more dependent, economically and politically, upon the West.
In the 1980s Perkins left Main and founded and directed an independent energy company. In the book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, Perkins claims that his company was successful due to 'coincidences' orchestrated by those appreciative of his silence about the work he says he did as an economic hit man.
Perkins's story is the main theme in part II of the movie Zeitgeist: Addendum, released in October 2008. In that same year, he appeared in the film, The End of Poverty?. He also appears in the films The Weight of Chains by Boris Malagurski, released in December 2010, Let's Make Money (in German) by the Austrian director Erwin Wagenhofer, released October 2008, and Four Horsemen by Ross Ashcroft, released in 2012. 
Sebastian Mallaby, economics columnist of the Washington Post, reacted sharply to Perkins' book: describing him as "a "conspiracy theorist, a vainglorious peddler of nonsense, and yet his book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, is a runaway bestseller." Mallaby, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, holds that Perkins' conception of international finance is "largely a dream" and that his "basic contentions are flat wrong." As an example, Mallaby states that Indonesia reduced its infant mortality and illiteracy rates by two-thirds after economists persuaded its leaders to borrow money in 1970.
Articles in the New York Times and Boston magazine, as well as a press release issued by the United States Department of State, have referred to a lack of documentary or testimonial evidence to corroborate the claim that the NSA was involved in his hiring by Chas T. Main. In addition, the State Department states that the NSA "is a cryptological (codemaking and codebreaking) organization, not an economic organization" and that its missions do not involve "anything remotely resembling placing economists at private companies in order to increase the debt of foreign countries." The State Department release further reports that Perkins has alleged U.S. Government complicity in "the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., former Beatle John Lennon, and several unnamed U.S. senators who had died in plane crashes."
Responding to criticism of his first book, Perkins and publisher Berrett-Koehler, found 12 authors, journalists, and investigators to contribute their stories to A Game as Old as Empire: the Secret World of Economic Hit Men and the Web of Global Corruption. The book includes first hand reports, third-party accounts, and analysis of practices said to be used by multinational corporations, governments, quasi-governmental agencies, and financial institutions.
- Hoodwinked: An Economic Hit Man Reveals Why the World Financial Markets Imploded – and What We Need to Do to Remake Them (2009), Crown Business, ISBN 0-307-58992-7
- The Secret History of the American Empire (2007), Plume, ISBN 0-525-95015-X
- A Game as Old as Empire: the Secret World of Economic Hit Men and the Web of Global Corruption (edited by Steven Hiatt, introduction by John Perkins) (2007), ISBN 978-1-57675-395-8
- Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (2004), ISBN 0-452-28708-1
Perkins's books on mystical aspects of indigenous cultures, including shamanism, include:
- Spirit of the Shuar: Wisdom from the Last Unconquered People of the Amazon (2001), co-authors Shakaim Mariano Shakai Ijisam Chumpi, Shakaim Mariano Ijisam Chumpi, Destiny Books, ISBN 0-89281-865-4
- Psychonavigation: Techniques for Travel Beyond Time (2nd 1999), Destiny Books, ISBN 0-89281-800-X
- Shapeshifting: Shamanic Techniques for Global and Personal Transformation (1997), Destiny Books, ISBN 0-89281-663-5
- The World Is As You Dream It: Teachings from the Amazon and Andes (1994), Destiny Books, ISBN 0-89281-459-4
Appearance as himself in documentary films
- The American Ruling Class (2005)
- Speaking Freely Volume 1: John Perkins (2007)
- Confessions of an Economic Hitman (2007)
- On The Line (2007)
- The End of Poverty? (2008)
- Zeitgeist: Addendum (2008)
- Let's Make Money (2008)
- Fall of the Republic: The Presidency of Barack H. Obama (2009)
- The Weight of Chains (2010)
- Four Horsemen (2012)
- American Empire (2012)
- Money & Life (2012)
- Project Censored the Movie (2013)
- Gold Fever (2013)
- Thomas Jr., Landon (19 February 2006). "Confessioning to the Converted". New York Times. Retrieved 02 July 2013.
- "The Veracity of John Perkins' Accounts" Memo by Steven Piersanti, President and Publisher, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. March 7, 2005
- Four Horsemen Film, retrieved 31 March 2013
- The Facts Behind the 'Confessions' by Sebastian Mallaby, Washington Post Op-Ed, 2006-02-26
- "Confessions – or Fantasies – of an Economic Hit Man? Purported links to National Security Agency appear dubious". US Department of State. 02 February 2006. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
- "Book Review: A Game as Old as Empire – The Secret World of Economic Hit Men and the Web of Global Corruption edited by Steven Hiatt". blogcritics. 19 April 2007. Retrieved 02 July 2013.