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Author Q&A: John Perkins

I saw my 7-year-old grandson, Grant, flipping through the 2004 edition. He asked me when I wrote it. I explained that I had finished writing it three years before he was born. He wanted to know what has happened since.The fact is things have gotten much worse.

What particular incident prompted you to revisit Confessions of an Economic Hit Man after 10 years?

Readers of the 2004 edition had sent me thousands of emails asking how its publication impacted my life, what I am doing to redeem myself and change the EHM system, and what actions they can take to turn things around.

Then in 2014, I saw my 7-year-old grandson, Grant, flipping through the 2004 edition. He asked me when I wrote it. I explained that I had finished writing it three years before he was born. He wanted to know what has happened since.

The fact is things have gotten much worse. Back when I was an EHM, I was part of a relatively small group. People who play similar roles are much more abundant now. They have euphemistic titles; they walk the corridors of Fortune 500 companies like Exxon, Walmart, General Motors, and Monsanto; they use the EHM system to promote their private interests. The world needs to know about the changes that have happened over the last 12 years.

Nearly 40 percent of New Confessions is brand-new. Can you tell us about some of the new information you've added?

I have added many new details and accounts of how we did our work during my time as an EHM, and I have clarified some points in the previously published chapters. More importantly, I have added an entirely new part 5, which explains how the EHM game is played today --who today's economic hit men are, who today's jackals are, and how their deceptions and tools are more far-reaching and enslaving now than ever.

How has the Economic Hit Man system become more dangerous since 2004?

The EHMs and the jackal assassins who step in when they fail have radically expanded their ranks and have adopted new disguises and tools. And we in the United States have been “hit” --badly. The entire world has been hit. We know that we teeter on the edge of disaster -- economic, political, social, and environmental disaster.

In the 1970s, economic hit men were executives and consultants at a few multinational corporations and consulting companies. Today's EHMs are executives and consultants at thousands of multinational corporations, consulting companies, investment funds, industry groups, and associations --as well as an army of lobbyists that represents all of these.


“We need to understand that the market place is a democracy, if we choose to use it as such; every time we buy something, we cast a vote.”

In one chapter, you refer to steal-from-the-poor, give-to-the-rich programs that are pervasive across the economic spectrum. Have you received --or are you expecting --backlash from the individuals and companies benefitting from these programs?

I am told by many of those individuals and companies that benefit from the old failed systems that they understand that things must change and they want guidance in how to transition from a death to a life economy. I'm expecting that The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man will generate more opportunities to reach across a broad spectrum of readers and will empower all of them --including the people who appear to benefit from the old systems --to take action. The fact is that we all live on a tiny space station without escape shuttles. If it crashes, no one will avoid the terrible consequences.

In your opinion, what will it take for this “EHM cancer” as you call it to finally be eradicated?

It is imperative that we admit to the fact that we are all complicit. We must take responsibility. The EHMs succeed because we collaborate with them. They seduce, cajole, and threaten us, but they win only when we look the other way or simply give in to their tactics.

We the people can feel empowered by the many ways we've changed corporations in the recent past --by boycotting ones that supported apartheid, polluted our rivers, refused to hire women or minorities, objected to same-sex marriages, rejected organic produce, opposed food labeling, and so much more.

We --you and I --are the ones with the real power. We need to understand that the market place is a democracy, if we choose to use it as such; every time we buy something, we cast a vote.

And, finally, what's been the reaction to the news you've revised your original book?

I am constantly doing media interviews and speaking engagements and the response to hearing that I am bringing out a revised and expanded version has been phenomenal. People are eager to hear about what is happening in the world and how they can end this destruction. The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man shares a strong message of hope. Despite all the bad news and the attempts of modern-day robber barons to steal our democracy and our planet, I am optimistic. I know that when enough of us perceive the true workings of this EHM system, we will take the individual and collective actions necessary to control the cancer and restore our health. This new bookreveals how the system works today and what you and I --all of us --can do to change it.

 

Originally published in the Business Connections issue of Advance

Book Title: The New Confessions of an Economic Hitman
Author: John Perkins
Sub-Head: A New York Times Bestseller --Revised & Updated
ISBN: 9781626566743 | $17.95 Paperback | Berrett-Koehler Publishers


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