Monday, December 29, 2008

Confessions of an Economic Hitman Falls Flat

I finally finished it just to get through and see what suggestions he has.

I do not like reading books where the protagonist is condescending and/or patronizing. And that, to me, is exactly what Mr. Perkins is.

"The real story of modern empire--of the corporatocracy and that exploits desperate people . . . has everything to do with us . . . we prefer to believe the myth that thousands of years of human social evolution has finally perfected the ideal economic system, rather than to face the fact htat we have merely bought into a false concept and accepted it as gospel. We have convinced ourselves that all economic growth benefits humankind and that the greater the growth, the more widespread the benefits. Finally, we have persuaded one another that . . . people who excel at stoking the fires of economic growth should be exalted and rewarded, while those born at the fringes are available for exploitation."
-p. 216

Mr. Perkins, you might want to replace all this "we" stuff with "some of us" or "I". Stop trying to make your own despicable story universal. Some of us who are reading your book were born at the fringes, were born to people who lived on the fringes or still live on the fringes. Even here in the "great" United States, people are hungry and needy. The U.S. government took billions of tax-payer dollars (or money that needs to be paid back by taxpayers) and used it to bail out some of these corporatocracy folks and none of that money filtered down to the common person. Oh, everything has looked rosy for a while in this country Mr. Perkins but it's becoming more obvious that the victim of your exploits were not just people in third world countries. Yes, Americans are guilty as sin for consumerism and being happily oblivious--I won't argue with you on that. It has been a trade-off yes. Americans have been bought off with fancy cars and flat panel televisions in exchange for not making too much of a fuss when those in power do their dirty business. But how much real power does a common person possess? You could reject all those creature comforts and find that "the powers that be" are still going to do their dirty business. And if you get in the way . . . You suggest to me the reader that I cut down on how much I buy and read your book as ways to rectify the problem. Really? I think not sir. The system must go down and, by George, I think it is. Revolution is just that.

"The fact that you read this far indicates that you can relate on some personal way to my confession."
-p. 224

Actually, no. I'm fascinated by the level of wickedness that has been perpetrated by those in power in this county. I'm fascinated by how deep it goes. That is why I kept reading.

"Now it is your turn. You need to make your own confession. When you come clean on who you are, why are here during this time in history, why you have have done the things you have, and where you intend to go next, you will experience an immediate sense of relief. "
-p. 224

Mr. Perkins, please.

Overall, a confusing "confession" replete with stories that I hardly believe. The book reads like some kind of spy novel with vague references and lots of Mr. Perkins' regrets. Unfortunately, he still sounds proud about his exploits and as far as I can tell is still sitting on a cowdung-load of paper. This book is good for the information. Good to get a sense of how the U.S. has gone about making a global empire. You could watch a documentary like "Life and Debt" and get a far better sense--and see how real people are exploited by this system. I'm sorry it took Mr. Perkins doing all the dirt he did before he finally was able to extricate himself. I don't even know if he extricated himself because he felt badly or because he saw an alternate way to get more money that didn't rely on a sinking ship.

Consciousness is the first step to change, truly. I hope that as the veneer of wealth and prosperity wears off for most Americans, we will become interested in learning the truth about things. Becoming conscious. This will mean turning off the t.v. and Wii entertainment systems, cracking open books (not just on economic exploitation but on self-sufficiency and spiritual growth). That we will boycott fake and illegitimate new sources completely. That we will consciously seek out news sources that tell the whole story, or a different story--that place America not at the top of things but right in line with everyone else. (Notice on the BBC's front page there is *nothing* about the U.S. but check any U.S. based news organization and they must have something about the U.S. even if it's trite.) Americans will have to become conscious of the fact that America is not the center of the world no matter what the news says.

I'm sometimes frustrated by how little I can actually do to change things. I often feel implicit in a system that systematically exploits people all over the world--many of whom look like me. I used to feel that leaving the U.S. would be my first step in freeing myself of my role in the system. But it's so much more complex than that. Going to Nigeria and Ghana has showed me how much more complex it is. There are no easy answers. So I am doing what I can where I am . . . and realizing that the only thing that stays the same is change. And so all this is going to have to change. I want to do my part to make it change for the better.

1 comment:

Ensayn1 said...

Chi-Chi, you are right on! He sounded as if he were still proud, and still protecting the entity rather than truly exposing what the U.S. and her partners were and are doing. This is the feeling I got from him.

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