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John Perkins
Born January 28, 1945 (1945-01-28) (age 65)
Hanover, New Hampshire, United States
Nationality American
Ethnicity Caucasian
Alma mater Boston University School of Management
Notable work(s) Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (2004)
Spouse(s) Winifred (1981 - present)
Children Jessica (b. April 1982)
Official website

John Perkins (b. January 28, 1945 in Hanover, New Hampshire) is an economist and author. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador from 1968-1970 and this experience launched him in the world of economics and writing. His best known book is Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (2004), an insider's account of the exploitation or neo-colonization of Third World countries by what Perkins describes as a cabal of corporations, banks, and the United States government. His 2007 book, The Secret History of the American Empire, provides more evidence of the negative impact of global corporations on the economies and ecologies of poor countries, as well as offering suggestions for making corporations behave more like good citizens.

Perkins also wrote an introduction to the 2007 book A Game as Old as Empire: the Secret World of Economic Hit Men and the Web of Global Corruption (edited by Steven Hiatt), a collection of accounts from investigators, journalists and other economic hitmen. The book offers further evidence of economic hit men and rebuts some of the criticism that Perkin's book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man received.



Perkins attended Tilton School for high school,Boston University School of Management during the 1960s. He spent the 1970s working for the Boston strategic-consulting firm Chas. T. Main, where he was employed after first being screened by the National Security Agency (NSA) and subsequently hired by Einar Greve, a member of the firm (and alleged NSA liaison, a claim which Greve has denied). Perkins was trained early in his career by a beautiful, older woman who was armed with the psychological profile gathered about him by the NSA after many days of pre-employment screening, as one of many "economic hit men" advancing the cause of corporate hegemony.

As a former chief economist at Chas. T. Main, Perkins says that he "was an 'economic hit man' for 10 years, helping US intelligence agencies and multinational corporations cajole and blackmail foreign leaders into serving US foreign policy and awarding lucrative contracts to US business.

After several years struggling with his conscience over the role he was playing in crippling foreign economies, he quit his consulting job. In the 1980s Perkins founded and directed a successful independent energy company. In the book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, Perkins states that he suspects the success of his company was due to 'coincidences' orchestrated by those appreciative of his silence about the work he did as an economic hit man. He then sold the energy company in the late 1980s. Since then he has been heavily involved with non-profit organizations in Ecuador and around the world. He continues this work today, in addition to his writing. One of his organizations, Dream Change, is dedicated to shifting consciousness and promoting sustainable lifestyles for the individual and global community.

Perkins and his role as an economic hitman is the main theme in part II of the movie Zeitgeist: Addendum, released in October 2008. He also appears in the documentary movie "Let's make money" (in German) by the Austrian director Erwin Wagenhofer, also released October 2008.


Columnist Sebastian Mallaby of the Washington Post reacted sharply to Perkins' book[1]: describing him as "a vainglorious peddler of nonsense, and yet his book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, is a runaway bestseller." Mallaby, who spent 13 years writing for the London Economist and wrote a critically well-received biography of World Bank chief James Wolfensohn[2], holds that Perkins' conception of international finance is "largely a dream" and that his "basic contentions are flat wrong."[1] Mallaby stated that Indonesia reduced its infant mortality and illiteracy rates by two-thirds after economists persuaded its leaders to borrow money in 1970.[1]

Perkins' response is that Mallaby is an apologist for the system of exploitation and argues in his book Secret History of the American Empire (2007) that Indonesia is significantly worse off economically and socially than it was in the 1970s.[3][4]

Articles in the New York Times and Boston Magazine, as well as a press release issued by the United States Department of State, have referred to a lack of documentary or testimonial evidence to corroborate the claim that the NSA was involved in his hiring to Chas T. Main. In addition, the author of the State Department release claims that the NSA "is a cryptological (codemaking and codebreaking) organization, not an economic organization" and that its missions do not involve "anything remotely resembling placing economists at private companies in order to increase the debt of foreign countries."[5] Over the years, however, news agencies have reported accusations of the NSA using its 'echelon' network to obtain confidential commercial information from foreign companies and pass it along to their US competitors, in a field referred to as 'economic warfare.'[6]


  • Hoodwinked (2009)
  • The Secret History of the American Empire (2007), ISBN 0-52595-015-X
  • Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (2004), ISBN 0-452-28708-1
  • A Game as Old as Empire: the Secret World of Economic Hit Men and the Web of Global Corruption (edited by Steven Hiatt, introduction by John Perkins) (2007) ISBN 978-1-57675-395-8

Perkins has also written on indigenous cultures and shamanism. His books on these subjects include:

  • Psychonavigation: Techniques for Travel Beyond Time, ISBN 0-89281-800-X
  • Shapeshifting: Shamanic Techniques for Global and Personal Transformation, ISBN 0-89281-663-5
  • The World Is As You Dream It
  • The Stress-Free Habit
  • The Spirit of the Shuar


External links



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