The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man Book Summary - The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man summary

John Perkins

An insider's account of imperialism in the modern age

4.4 (340 ratings)
26 mins

Brief summary

The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins is a memoir that exposes the dark side of the global economy. He reveals the conspiracies of corporations, governments, and banks, and explains how they exploit the people and resources of developing nations for profit.

Table of Contents

    The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
    Summary of 9 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 9

    Economic Hit Men use debt as leverage to promote US interests around the world.

    After World War II, the US government was faced with a question: How can you advance your country’s interests abroad without causing armed conflict and mass casualties? Looked at one way, this almost sounds like a call for global peace. But the US government’s answer was a little more nefarious than that.

    By the start of the Cold War in the 1960s, the US had a persuasive way to back up its words: the threat of the atomic bomb. But although such a weapon is incredibly powerful, it’s hardly practical for day-to-day negotiations. The US needed a more effective way to encourage world leaders to promote US commercial interests without risking more bloodshed.

    So it added a new tool to its arsenal: Economic Hit Men.

    The key message here is: Economic Hit Men use debt as leverage to promote US interests around the world. 

    An Economic Hit Man, or EHM, is something like a secret agent. But unlike James Bond, an EHM mostly relies on the art of persuasion. Instead of gadgets, an EHM's tools are payoffs, extortion, and misleading economic reports, all with one main purpose: push countries to accept more and more economic aid from international organizations like the World Bank. Then use that debt to influence policy decisions, especially ones related to valuable natural resources like oil. When countries owe money, the US can count on their loyalty, and that also benefits large US corporations and their wealthy investors.

    With their doctored financial reports, EHMs convinced leaders that the programs they pushed would help the local economy flourish. If the leader wasn’t aligned with US interests – or was unwilling to cooperate – EHMs would help instigate coups, followed by elections rigged to ensure a more agreeable replacement took over. EHMs also made use of extortion, threats, and whatever else was necessary to achieve US political, economic, and military goals.

    But in 1953, a CIA agent named Kermit Roosevelt organized a coup in Iran. The goal was to regain unrestricted access to Iran’s oil reserves. While the coup was successful, the US realized it was playing a dangerous game. People like Roosevelt, who were organizing coups and pressuring leaders through debt, were representatives of the US government. If they were found out, it would be a big problem. The solution? Funnel money to private sector companies, who would then hire and manage teams of EHMs around the world. If efforts went awry, they could only be traced back to these private corporations, and not the CIA or US military.

    Want to see all full key ideas from The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man?

    Key ideas in The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man about?

    The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (2016) is an insider’s account of imperialism in the modern age. Drawing on the author’s experiences of working behind the scenes to further America’s interests, it sheds light on how the United States uses debt to manipulate and control smaller nations. Twelve years after its first publication in 2004, enough had changed to warrant a second look at how a new generation of Economic Hit Men have been peddling influence abroad – and at home.

    Best quote from The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

    Einar had hired me as an economist, but I was soon to learn that my real job went far beyond that.

    —John Perkins
    example alt text

    Who should read The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man?

    • History buffs with a taste for intrigue 
    • Fans of rip-roaring yarns 
    • Would-be geopolitical strategists

    About the Author

    John Perkins was the chief economist at Chas T. Main, a consultancy that advised clients like the World Bank and the US Treasury. After quitting in 1980, he wrote the first draft of what would eventually become Confessions of an Economic Hit Man – a tell-all memoir of the years he spent working as an “Economic Hit Man” in the pay of the American empire.

    Categories with The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

    Book summaries like The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    28 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial