Friday, October 2, 2009

Latin America Strikes Back

John Perkins’s new book HOODWINKED now available to pre-order at any on-line bookseller (order through links at and a share of the price will support the nonprofit organization founded by John). Join me on Twitter - @economic_hitman .

Dear Friends,

We may feel hoodwinked by the big US banks, but the Latin Americans are striking back!

On Sept. 26, seven presidents signed the document officially starting the Bank of the South. Opening with $7 billion in capital that is expected to grow to $20 billion in coming months, the bank’s objective is to finance development projects in agriculture, energy, and health care for member nations and to boost trade throughout the hemisphere.

To a large degree this bank will replace the World Bank, IMF, USAID, and other “development” organizations that have been used by economic hit men to enrich the corporatocracy and gain control over Third World resources.

The presidents of Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela signed the document during the historic Africa-South America Summit held in Venezuela following the 2009 meetings opening the United Nations in New York.

“This is historic for the true independence of Latin America,” Ecuador’s president Correa said. “We’re done depending on the North for, on the one hand, kneeling down to ask for some dollars and, on the other, sending billions of dollars to them. We’ve had enough of that contradiction.”

As detailed in HOODWINKED, a wave is sweeping Latin America. People who have been exploited for centuries are rising up and demanding that their resources be used to lift them out of poverty. During the Africa-South America Summit, the wave spread across the Atlantic.

Now it is time for us in the US to also surf that wave!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Film "Crude"

Subject: The film “Crude”

From: John Perkins

Dear Friends,

“Crude” is an amazing and beautifully filmed documentary about the critical lawsuit filed on behalf of 30,000 Ecuadorian people in the Amazon against Texaco/Chevron. A MUST SEE! It is now playing in NYC and LA, then soon in San Francisco and Chicago.

I urge you to see it.

Below is an email I just received from its producer, Mike Bonfiglio.


Hi John,

How are you? We wanted to ask you a favor -- would it be possible to send another e-mail to your list about "Crude"? The film is now playing in New York and Los Angeles, and it expands into San Francisco tomorrow and Chicago next weekend. These cities are absolutely critical to the extended life of the film and its message reaching far and wide. A full list of upcoming cities where the film will be playing can be found here:

Interestingly, the expansion of "Crude" is coinciding with a new development in the case -- Chevron is now suing the nation of Ecuador, in a desperate attempt to avoid what they anticipate will be a ruling against them and further delay justice:

John, we would so greatly appreciate it if you could get the word out again to your list -- New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago will be the keys to "Crude" having an extended life. Your support means so much.


Monday, June 15, 2009

China: A Lesson in Transformation

Several times during my EHM tenure in the 1970s I stood on a hill in the New Territories outside Hong Kong and peered into China, a mysterious country I was not allowed to enter. China was locked behind a wall of secrecy. About all most of us knew was that the country was in shambles due to Mao’s Cultural Revolution.

I finally had the opportunity to visit China in June 2009.

No one back in the ‘70s believed that any country could sustain double digit economic growth for more than a couple of years and under no circumstances for a decade.

China accomplished the impossible. And then it did it again. And again. China’s economy mushroomed by an estimated ten-fold. In three decades, the most populous nation on the planet rose from the depths of poverty to become the symbol of what human determination – and capitalism – can accomplish.

We in the US seem to want to focus on China’s problems. People constantly point out the negatives, like its greenhouse gas levels recently surpassed ours (although on a per capita basis our emissions are five times greater than theirs). Driving toward my hotel in the modern Pudang district, I was certainly aware of the low-lying mist that I assumed was smog, but I have to say that I was most struck by something quite different: the profusion of trees. There were dozens of varieties of them, everywhere. Tall, short, deciduous, coniferous, some bursting with colors – red, pink, white, and yellow flowers – they covered a broad center strip that divided outgoing from incoming traffic, lined the sides of the highway, and stretched back as far as the eye could see. Many were tall; all seemed healthy – either naturally suited to the local conditions or pampered. Obviously planted, they were clustered in formations that brought to mind the formal gardens of Versailles. In addition to creating a most pleasant environment for mile upon mile, they performed another function, that of removing carbon dioxide from the air. It was my first inkling of China’s commitment to cleaning up its environment.

“Yes,” Mandy Zhang, an MBA student at the China Europe International Business School replied. CEIBS had brought me to Shanghai to speak at their Being Globally Responsible Conference and she was my host on my first evening at a restaurant near my hotel. “We are all very aware of the pollution our economic development has caused. We young people are especially determined to turn it around. Trees are one small part of the plan.”

Although the majority of the MBA students at CEIBS are Chinese, roughly 40 percent come from the United States, Europe, Latin America, and other parts of Asia. Their school was ranked among the top ten MBA programs in the world by the Financial Times in 2009 – along with Wharton, Harvard, Columbia, and Stanford.

Every time I asked them about the environment, the Chinese students agreed that cleaning it up was a priority. I was told again and again that it will happen. Economic growth had been the first goal; now the time had arrived to take care of the problems that rapid development had created. During the six days I was in Shanghai, the government announced that it would levy taxes against polluters, support a company that was developing electric cars by making plug-in stations available around much of the country, and offer rebates of approximately $4,000 (US) to customers who purchased those cars. “When the government says it will happen,” I was told time and again, “it will.”

The fact that roughly one sixth of the world’s population has turned itself so totally around in three decades signals hope for all of us. China is a land of many diverse cultures – ones that throughout history frequently fought each other; it has demonstrated the capacity we humans possess for uniting in order to realize a common cause.

Rather than fearing China or criticizing its pollution levels, we can draw on its remarkable example, encourage it to do better, and set our own goals of becoming greener than China at an even more rapid pace.

As my plane lifted off from Shanghai airport, I realized that my visit to China had inspired me with a new sense of hope. What a wonderful thing for all of us – and our children and grandchildren – if the new China motivates us in the US, and every other country, to compete to see who can become the most socially and environmentally responsible society on the planet.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

May 24, 2009


Dear Friends,

We’ve been hearing a lot about terrorists and pirates for many years now; but reports about why they do what they do are just starting to filter through.

A pirate who goes by the name Abshir Abdullahi Abdi explained his reasons on NPR’s Morning Edition, on May 6, 2006. "We understand what we're doing is wrong. But hunger is more important than any other thing," he said.

NPR’s Gwen Thompkins followed up with this: “Fishing villages in the area have been devastated by illegal trawlers and waste dumping from industrialized nations. Coral reefs are reportedly dead. Lobster and tuna have vanished. Malnutrition is high.”

Amy Goodman introduced Mohamed Abshir Waldo on the April 14, 2009 edition of DemocracyNow! The autor of “The Two Piracies in Somalia: Why the World Ignores the Other?” he said:

Well, the two piracies are the original one, which was foreign fishing piracy by foreign trawlers and vessels, who at the same time were dumping industrial waste, toxic waste and, it also has been reported, nuclear waste (author’s note: from US navel vessels patrolling the oil lanes off the Somali coast). . .

And the other piracy is the shipping piracy. When the marine resource of Somalia was pillaged, when the waters were poisoned, when the fish was stolen, and in a poverty situation in the whole country, the fishermen felt that they had no other possibilities or other recourse but to fight with, you know, the properties and the shipping of the same countries that have been doing and carrying on the fishing piracy and toxic dumping. (4)

Hearing these reports about the Somali situation took me back to a morning in Nicaragua about a year ago. “Terrorism is not really an ‘ism’,” Miguel d’Escoto, the former Sandanista priest and current president of the UN General Assembly told me. “There’s no connection between the guerrillas who fought the Contras and Al Qaeda, or Colombia’s FARC and Somali pirates. That’s just a convenient way for your government to convince the world that there is another enemy ‘ism’ out there, like communism used to be.”

He and I talked about fanatics. We agreed that there would always be a lunatic fringe in the world – just as there would always be clinically insane people. “Perhaps Bin Laden is one of them,” I said. “But fanatics don’t get people to follow them unless those people are miserable, desperate.” Then I added, “I’ve often wondered about Robin Hood. He may have been a fanatic for all we know. But the Saxons had been invaded by the Normans and were abused horribly. They couldn’t even hunt deer in their own forests to feed their starving children. They would have flocked to anyone who defied the Normans and offered them hope.”

Father Miguel smiled. “And when the Normans sent the Sheriff of Nottingham to ferret Robin Hood out and destroy his band, all it did was rally the opposition. Hatred escalated.”

It seems that, in the long-run, no one benefits from attacking people who have been treated in ways they consider unjust. Violence, in such cases, begets violence. With one exception.

Those Eisenhower identified as the military-industrial complex, today’s corporatocracy, reap huge benefits. Those who build ships, missiles, and armored vehicles; make guns, uniforms and bulletproof vests; distribute food, soft drinks, and ammunition; provide insurance, medicines, and toilet paper; construct ports, airstrips, and housing; and reconstruct devastated villages, factories, schools, and hospitals – they, and only they, are the big winners.

John Perkins
New York Times Bestselling Author:
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
The Secret History of the American Empire
The World Is As You Dream It

(1) NPR’s Morning Edition. “In Somalia, Piracy Is An Attractive Career Option” by Gwen Thompkins, May 6, 2009.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

March 2009

Hi friends,

These are amazing times. We have arrived at a pivotal moment in history; we are challenged to move out of an adolescent stage of human economic development (characterized by colonialist and exploitative policies) into a mature recognition that we are a fragile species living on a small, highly interdependent planet.
In order for my grandson to hope to inherit a sustainable, just, and peaceful world every baby born in every country must have that same expectation -- and it must be realized for all. Homeland security will come only when we understand that the entire planet is our homeland.
I hope you will join me at one of the events listed below, in Seattle, San Jose, Denver, and Boulder -- so we can explore these issues together in greater depth.
Looking forward to seeing you.
John Perkins
Sun. March 29
1 pm talk main stage
co-produced by Global Exchange and Green America
2 pm booksigning
LOCATION: WA State Convention & Trade Center 800 Convention Place (7th and Pike)
For more information:
Mon. March 30
1570 Branham Lane, San Jose, CA 95118
Sponsored by Branham High School
TOPIC: "The Secret History of the American EmpireWhat Next? How to Change It"
Open to the Public: Adults $20, Students $10; seating limited to first 200 attendees
Tickets may be purchased online at Branham website;
For more information, go to or
email John Salberg at or call 408-246-3191
Tues. March 31
TALK & BOOKSIGNING, Regis University, Denver, CO at 8 pm
LOCATION: Student Center Dining Room, Regis University
3333 Regis Blvd Denver, CO
Sponsors: John J. Sullivan Endowed Chair for Free Enterprise at Regis University, Regis College Leadership Development Program, RegisUniversity Student Government Association.
TOPIC: Transforming Turmoil into a New Economy (1 hr.)
For more information:
Wed. April 1
LUNCHEON TALK/SIGNING- Denver, CO at 11:30 am- 1:30 pm MT
Room 333 of Main Hall at Regis University.
TOPIC: Transforming Turmoil into a New Economy.
There is a $35 fee to attend the lunch
To register for the lunch please go to
Wed. Apr. 1
TALK and BOOKSIGNING, Boulder, CO at 7 pm MT
Sponsored by KGNU Community Radio
KGNU, 4700 Walnut Street, Boulder, CO
Open to the public; Donation requested
Contact: Joanne Cole 303-449-4885

March 2009