By Martin Rejman, WAC-DC Emerging Global Leaders Intern
The World Affairs Council-Washington DC hosted an author series event on March 2, 2016 with John Perkins to discuss his book, "The New Confessions of an Economic Hitman." Mr. Perkins' remarks touched on several ideas relating to his career as a global economist and our world today; plus personal stories and objective truths calling for a change in each individual’s mindset.
Mr. Perkins explained that the main reason why he wrote "The New Confessions of an Economic Hitman" is because the global economy has profoundly decayed since the last version of his book from 2004. According to Mr. Perkins, the world is mostly dominated by corporations that primarily aim to maximize profits with little interest in public welfare.
In efforts of seeking high returns, the so-called “economic hitmen” manipulate leaders of developing countries into loaning money from the World Bank, in order to hire foreign firms for local development projects. Yet, the hiring country is intended to end up with unpayable debts that consolidate political and economic leverage of the foreign corporations.
Further effects of this so-called “death economy” include uneven distribution of resources, where the top 62 billionaires possess as many assets as the rest of the world’s population. Mr. Perkins also highlighted that Americans – as nearly as 5% of the world population – consume over 30% of world resources. According to Mr. Perkins, today’s generations must bring a revolutionary change that involves several steps. He asserts that potential shift towards a “live economy” would also have a positive effect on global pollution, which we face today.
According to Mr. Perkins, consumers should be selective with products whose manufacturers might exploit foreign labor. Corporations ought to serve the public interest, he said, as it once had been before the 1970s. Finally, each and every individual could use “his passions” for spreading consciousness and taking every-day action to advance towards the collective goal.