Edited by Steven Hiatt
Review by Adrian Zupp, Common Ground Magazine
In 2004, John Perkins’ Confessions of an Economic Hitman created waves, spoke the unspeakable and became a New York Times bestseller. In it Perkins came clean about how he’d helped US intelligence agencies and multinationals exploit the economies of Third World nations. A Game As Old As Empire — for which he wrote the introduction — is the follow-up, and this time a wide variety of in-the-know authors corroborate and expand upon Perkins’ story. And it’s frightening stuff.
In plain language — and providing sufficient historical background — we are shown how First World countries have used “economic hit men,” institutions like the World Bank and IMF, coercion and even outright strong-arm tactics to steal from the developing countries — often in collusion with the elites of those countries who are happy to hide their ill-gotten gain in offshore accounts.
A Game As Old As Empire is well referenced, very readable and perversely entertaining. Hard data is combined with first-person narratives and the machinations of international economics are made accessible for the layperson. And the book goes one step further by offering hope and practical advice. The chapter “Global Uprising: The Web of Resistance” by policy-analyst Antonia Juhasz sheds light on how people can change the corruption and help create a better world. There is also an appendix: “Resources for Hope.”
With chapters such as “The Human Cost of Cheap Cell Phones” and “Hijacking Iraq’s Oil Reserves,” Game has a conscience-pricking currency.
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Introduction: New Confessions and Revelations from the World of Economic Hit Men
1. Global Empire: The Web of Control
2. Selling Money—and Dependency: Setting the Debt Trap
S. C. Gwynne
3. Dirty Money: Inside the Secret World of Offshore Banking
4. BCCI’s Double Game: Banking on America, Banking on Jihad
The Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) was a useful tool for many powerful clients, ranging from the CIA and the Medellín cartel to Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and influential figures in both the Republican and Democratic parties. When BCCI was fi nally shut down, as much as $15 billion had been lost or stolen—the biggest bank fraud in the world. Lucy Komisar reveals why banking authorities looked the other way for so long, and how BCCI’s long-time allies in Washington were able to block any meaningful investigation.
5. The Human Cost of Cheap Cell Phones
7. Hijacking Iraq’s Oil Reserves: Economic Hit Men at Work
8. The World Bank and the $100 Billion Question
9. The Philippines, the World Bank, and the Race to the Bottom
10. Exporting Destruction
11. The Mirage of Debt Relief
James S. Henry
12. Global Uprising: The Web of Resistance
THIS BOOK IS IN PRINT. Available commercially.