Quicklet on John Perkins's Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (CliffNotes-like Summary), Abdul Montaqim
Abdul Montaqim

Quicklet on John Perkins's Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (CliffNotes-like Summary)

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I first came across John Perkins's Confessions of an Economic Hit Man a few years ago when I was living and working in Abu Dhabi, a tiny city-state which serves as the capital of a conglomerate of similar city-states—including Dubai—all collectively known as the United Arab Emirates, or the UAE, which itself is located on the eastern coast of the Arabian peninsula.

And although the UAE had been peaceful and prosperous for many decades, I couldn’t help but think about the fact that I was in the middle of the most dangerously volatile and highly militarised region on Earth.

The year was 2008. The war in Iraq was still rumbling on and, in my more paranoid moments, I thought the conflict could escalate in a flash and instantly embroil other countries in the region.

What I did not spend a single moment worrying about, however, was the unprecedented terror caused by the global economic crisis. Who did? I didn’t think about it because, unlike armies, banks and financial institutions are forces of a largely invisible kind of activity. And I never knew finance could cause so much devastation.


Abdul Montaqim is a journalist, based in London, and has been working in the media since 1989. Among the more well known titles he has written for are The Guardian newspaper, Time Out magazine and the International Business Times website.

He has edited a number of local and community newspapers, magazines and websites, and has, over the course of his career, worked for some of the largest publishers in Europe, including Emap, LLP and Mirror Group Newspapers.

Abdul has also worked outside of the United Kingdom, moving to Abu Dhabi for a year to work on the first national daily newspaper in United Arab Emirates, The National; and he has consulted for media companies in Bangladesh, where he was born.


The job of EHMs (and their colleagues) is to persuade countries to take out loans worth billions of dollars, often to pay for infrastructure projects that the EHMs themselves recommend, writes John Perkins in his book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

If the persuasion tactics of the EHMs fail, the CIA “jackals”, as he calls them, take over and often assassinate the leaders of governments who do not co-operate—such as Jaime Roldos, president of Ecuador, and Omar Torrijos, president of Panama.

Perkins starts his story by wondering how he had grown up to be involved in such a “dirty business”. He remembers Ann, and her uncle, Frank, who suggests working for the NSA and being a Peace Corps Volunteer.

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