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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Hoodwinked: An Economic Hit Man Reveals Why the World Financial Markets Imploded--and What We Need to Do to Remake Them » User review

Interesting - Just not Convincing

  • Dec 12, 2009
I will say that John Perkins is on to something. I will not say that he is on to EVERYTHING. Mr. Perkins does an excellent job demonstrating how capitalism running amuck has caused short-sighted CEO's to vastly inflate their own pay. This lack of long-term vision can cripple a company, and as we have recently learned an entire economy. Be warned if you are a Reagan conservative this book will likely offend you - deeply. However, that does not mean that Perkins doesn't hit on some truths. Another group that are under attack are follower of Milton Friedman - but that my friends is not a bad thing!

What are we to make of Perkins other claims? Specifically, that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank are pawns for corporations. Perkins claims that these organizations purposely give loans to countries knowing that they can never be repaid. The country would then be required to turn-over resources to private corporations - causing a de facto slavery of both the people and all of their resources. It sounds like a grand conspiracy except for one flaw - while this type of capitalism is not perfect - it is fundamentally how the United States was formed. The USA has always placed resources to corporate bidders in order to create jobs and to allow for efficient utilization. While I strongly support the fact that federal regulation must be a counter-balance to the corporate quest for unlimited profits - I do not think that nationalized companies are the answer.

Back to Perkins most shocking claim - that the IMF and World Banks are trying to keep people in poverty. Fundamentally, I have problems with this logic. If you remember after the Revolutionary War the USA was heavily indebted to both the French and the Dutch. Alexander Hamilton was able to use this debt as a way to establish credit and strengthen the nation. Clearly there are differences between the 1780's and the 21st century - but how can a country embark on rising from poverty without building an infrastructure?

A couple of other specific claims that bother me-

- Perkins hails the new wave of democratically elected leaders in Latin America - including Venezuela. I recognize that some appreciate the fact that Chavez stood up to Big Oil, but by doing so he has decimated his country and destroyed the environment. To me Chavez symbolizes everything that Perkins raves AGAINST - a pseudo-dictator that takes advantage of his people.

- Perkins states that the use of fertilizers are ways that corporations help keep the developing world at bay by destroying their environment. This argument is very weak, it is a well know fact that without industrialized fertilizers a significant portion of the world would starve (See The Consumer's Good Chemical Guide: A Jargon-Free Guide to the Chemicals of Everyday Life (Scientific American Library Series) ).

This is what worries me about "Hoodwinked" that Perkins does not allow for a middle-ground. The IMF, World Bank, Bank of America and others are all bad and apparently, Hugo Chavez is all good.

Final Verdict - Recommended read, but have an open-mind. Conservatives will despise "hoodwinked" and call it Socialist propaganda (but its not) and Liberals may see it as the gospel (which it is not). The truth is somewhere in the middle - I am skeptical in many of his claims, but I appreciate the perspective.

3 stars

----Please note that I reviewed a free promotional copy which was provided by the author/publisher--

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review by . November 30, 2009
Perkins, John. "Hoodwinked: An Economic Hit Man Reveals Why the World Financial markets Imploded--and What We need to Do to Remake Them', Broadway Business, 2009.    The Real Details    Amos Lassen      John Perkins shows us the real reason for the global financial meltdown by showing us how we have been "hoodwinked" by the CEOs of the companies who run corporate businesses and that those corporations control not only large amounts …
review by . November 23, 2009
Although I am a longtime political and news junkie, it is not possible for me to accurately determine the truth of all the claims that are made in this book. However, I do know a great deal of history and have some knowledge of economics so I can reach conclusions on many of the claims. Where I am able, I can confirm the accuracy of what Perkins puts forward.    Perkins is a self-proclaimed former "economic hit man" (EHM), a person whose job is to convince people to accept his economic …
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About this book


Robert Baer Reviews Hoodwinked

Robert Baeris the author of twoNew York Timesbestsellers:Sleeping with the Devil, about the Saudi royal family and its relationship with the United States; andSee No Evil, which recounts Baer’s years as a top CIA operative.See No Evilwas the basis for the acclaimed filmSyriana, which earned George Clooney an Oscar for his portrayal of Baer. Baer has contributed toVanity Fair, theWall Street Journal, and theWashington Post. He is considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on the Middle East. Read his guest review ofHoodwinked:

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 ...

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ISBN-10: 0307589927
ISBN-13: 978-0307589927
Author: John Perkins
Genre: Business & Investing
Publisher: Crown Business
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