John Perkins has seen the signs of today's economic meltdown before. 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, he 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.
Here, 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. Their arrogance, gluttony, and mismanagement have brought us to this perilous edge. The solution is not a "return to normal."
But there is a way out. As Perkins makes clear, 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.
We can create a society that fosters a just, sustainable, and safe world for us and our children. Each one of us makes these choices every day, in ways that are clearly spelled out in this book.
"We hold the power," he says, "if only we recognize it." Hoodwinked is a powerful polemic that shows not only how we arrived at this precarious point in our history but also what we must do to stop the global tailspin.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Robert Baer Reviews Hoodwinked
Robert Baer is the author of two New York Times bestsellers: Sleeping with the Devil, about the Saudi royal family and its relationship with the United States; and See No Evil, which recounts Baer’s years as a top CIA operative. See No Evil was the basis for the acclaimed film Syriana, which earned George Clooney an Oscar for his portrayal of Baer. Baer has contributed to Vanity Fair, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. He is considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on the Middle East. Read his guest review of Hoodwinked:
I wasn’t twenty pages into Hoodwinked when I realized Perkins nailed it. What got us into the mess we’re in today, the worst recession since the Great Depression, is the same grotesque capitalism cum corruption we shoved down the throat of the Third World since the end of World War II. (Yes, the Third World’s elites were cheerfully corrupted.)
We, and the rest of the West, learned the trick of selling unneeded infrastructure, services, over-sophisticated weapons--stuff that could never benefit anyone other than the people who lined their pockets. And yes, Perkins is right, the international economists and press were handmaidens to the thievery.
It was all fairly routine until 9/11, when the real gorging started. Tell the people their roof is on fire and they’ll give you whatever you ask for. Between 2001 and 2009 the Department of Defense budget increased 74 percent, and that is not to mention the hundreds of billions of dollars in related contracts. Nigeria on the Potomac.
Perkins is quick to state he doesn’t believe in a grand conspiracy theory. Few of the people who call the shots have ever met each other. They don’t have a playbook other than a couple of fraudulent economists like Milton Friedman and the others who worship at the altar of deregulation. No, what they have in common is an obsession with the winner takes all.
Perkins's message isn’t going to be popular. We’re a country invested in a system in which five percent of the world’s population consumes 25 percent of the world’s resources. It's a system we’re trying to sell to the world, only we don’t mention that we’ll need five planets to sustain it.
Perkins isn’t the pessimist I am. He says we can save the world if we green it--and, of course, start telling the truth to each other. Otherwise we end up a banana republic like the ones we know so well how to despoil. --Robert BaerAbout the Author:
JOHN PERKINS is the bestselling author of the classic exposé Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and an economist who has enjoyed a front-row seat to world events for the past four decades—as the chief economist of a major consulting firm and economic hit man for the American corporatocracy in the 1970s, CEO of an energy company in the 1980s, and founder of nonprofits in the 1990s and 2000s. He spent the past five years traveling across the United States and to many other countries where he met with government and corporate leaders, spoke at universities and business conferences, talked with people from all walks of life, and gained invaluable insights into the underlying causes of the current crisis.
From the Hardcover edition.
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