I am almost done reading The New Confessions of an Economic Hitman and it has completely reframed my understanding of the business deals and infrastructure programs I observed growing up in the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s. The author breaks down the empire-building strategy of American Corporatocracy and its devastating effects on the developing countries where they did their work. These Economic Hitmen (EHMs) were ivy-league economists dispatched to work with the governments of resource-rich developing countries with the mission of getting the countries to accept more debt than they could ever pay back to build their infrastructure by hiring American corporations. Then, when the infrastructure was built and the bill came due and the debt couldn't be paid, the World Bank and the CIA would take control in the name of financial guidance and pro-business leaders would be installed to ensure that the country continued to be a great trading partner for the West.
The first-hand accounts in the book are almost unbelievable. Almost. I can't believe it hasn't been made into a movie yet.
Well, actually I can. The powers at be definitely don't want the American people to know that this is what "promoting democracy abroad" has actually looked like over the past 60-70 years.
- Offer something that has never been attainable before
- Claim the upside is even better than expected
- Show examples of others who have attained this status
- Make getting debt to pay for it simple
- Assure the borrower that it will all be worth it in the end
- Show quick results and improvements while in progress
- Don't make anyone pay until the work is done
- Start collecting the debt
- Use the debt to force other decisions
- Add another debt-laden subservient pawn to your collection
In 10 easy steps, the powers-at-be go from being your partner in a future you so desperately want for yourself to becoming your new master until the debt that you can never pay off is paid off.
Wait, is this strategy about developing countries or a whole generation of students sold the promise of a college education?
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Andy Ellwood - Make Room For Many
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