The Book in Three Sentences

The United States is engaging in a modern form of slavery by using the World Bank and other international organizations to offer huge loans to developing nations for construction projects and oil production. On the surface this appears to be generous, but the money is only awarded to a country if it agrees to hire US construction firms, which ensures a select few people get rich. Furthermore, the loans are intentionally too big for any developing nation to repay and this debt burden virtually guarantees the developing nation will support the political interests of the United States.

Confessions of an Economic Hitman summary

This is my book summary of Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins. My notes are informal and often contain quotes from the book as well as my own thoughts. This summary also includes key lessons and important passages from the book.

  • “Few swim in riches and the majority drown in poverty, pollution, and violence.”
  • The top 1 percent of third world households account for 70 to 90 percent of all private financial wealth and real estate ownership in their country.
  • There are (were?) a famous group of pirates in Indonesia known as the Bugi. They so terrorized early European sailors that the sailors came home and told their children, “Behave yourselves or the Bugimen will get you.” Crazy origin of the phrase.
  • “The beacon shines on a destiny that is not always one we envision.”
  • The imperialist and capitalist drive is so strong and so pervasive that it has become the primary cause of most wars, pollution, starvation, species extinctions, and genocides.
  • Life is composed of a series of coincidences over which we have no control. Once we are presented with such coincidences, we gave choices. How we respond, the actions we take in the face of coincidences, makes all the difference.
  • How many decisions (including ones of great historical significance that impact millions of people) are made by men and women who are driven by personal motives rather than by a desire to do the right thing?
  • This book offers a startling reminder that debt is the new form of prison. Entire countries are handicapped by their debt to the United States and other major players.
  • Lesson: avoid debt at all costs of you want to remain free.
  • We decry slavery, but our global empire enslaves more people than the Romans and all other colonial powers before us.

Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins

Buy the book: Print Audiobook

Thanks for reading. You can get more actionable ideas in my popular email newsletter. Each week, I share 3 short ideas from me, 2 quotes from others, and 1 question to think about. Over 2,000,000 people subscribe. Enter your email now and join us.