Friday, August 30, 2013

John Perkins ~ Economic Hitman Turned... Shaman (!)

I haven't read any of John Perkins' books, in fact I'd never heard of him, or them, 'til I noticed mention of his name and a book of his in a comment thread this week.

A nutshell description of John Perkins from Goodreads:
John Perkins is an activist and author. As a former chief economist at Boston strategic-consulting firm Chas. T. Main, Perkins says that he was an "economic hit man" for 10 years, helping U.S. intelligence agencies and multinational corporations cajole and blackmail foreign leaders into serving U.S. foreign policy and awarding lucrative contracts to American business.

However, after several years struggling internally 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, which he subsequently sold. 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.

From a book review
A Game as Old as Empire – The Secret World of Economic Hit Men and the Web of Global Corruption edited by Steven Hiatt~ is a follow up to Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, written by John Perkins, a former banker who destroyed the economies of many debt-ridden third world nations by converting the debt into profits for the corporate and political elite. Critics lambasted Perkins’ sole account of his actions, demanding proof that such dirty machinations actually took place. Empire is a chilling account of the abusive fraud perpetrated in the cryptic world of international finance, and the thin tightropes of legality bankers balance themselves upon.

Of his book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man John Perkins has said,"This book was written so that we may take heed and remold our story. I am certain that when enough of us become aware of how we are being exploited by the economic engine that creates an insatiable appetite for the world's resources, and results in systems that foster slavery, we will no longer tolerate it. We will reassess our role in a world where a few swim in riches and the majority drown in poverty, pollution, and violence . We will commit ourselves to navigating a course toward compassion, democracy, and social justice for all."

From a New York Times piece in 2006:
Mr. Perkins's core message is that American corporations and government agencies employ two types of operatives: "economic hit men," who bribe emerging economies, and "jackals," who may be used to overthrow or even murder heads of state in Latin America and the Middle East to serve the greater cause of American empire. During an earlier time, that message might have been mere fodder for conspiracy theorists and fringe publishers. But now, for all of Mr. Perkins's talk of fiery plane crashes and corporate intrigue, his book seems to have tapped into a larger vein of discontent and mistrust that Americans feel toward the ties that bind together corporations, large lending institutions and the government — a nexus that Mr. Perkins and others call the "corporatocracy."

At a bookstore, in 2006, the author talked about "Confessions of an Economic Hitman"...from a report HERE:
Leaning low into the microphone, Mr. Perkins affects a deep conspiratorial whisper as he sets the scene for the imagined encounter between the new president and the representative of the multinational corporate interests Mr. Morales had vilified during his campaign.

"Congratulations Mr. President," Mr. Perkins says, assuming the role of the businessman, or economic hit man, as he likes to call his previous profession. "I just want you to know that in this hand I have a couple of hundred million dollars for you and your family if you play the game our way." With the practiced timing of an expert storyteller, Mr. Perkins pauses. "And in this hand I have a gun with a bullet in case you decide to keep your campaign promises."

As the rapt crowd clucks and murmurs as if let in on an unspeakable confidence, Mr. Perkins cautions that he is speaking metaphorically. But for an audience already punch drunk on Mr. Perkins's very own tales of corporate skullduggery, his allegory — overripe though it may be — carries not only a ring of truth but also clues to a long history of unexplained endings

"And what about those crashes of J.F.K. Jr. and Paul Wellstone?" a woman in the audience asks. "They were awfully suspicious."

Yes, Mr. Perkins says with a nod, and reels off the deaths of others in airplane crashes: Gen. Omar Torrijos, the former president of Panama, in 1981; Jaime Roldos Aguilera, the president of Ecuador, also in 1981; and even Senator John G. Tower, the Republican from Texas, who perished with 22 others on a commercial flight in 1991. "We have had a lot of plane crashes," Mr. Perkins says ominously.
Ve--ery intrer-esting......

I immediately wanted to see John Perkins' natal chart for insight as to whether he's just another, though rather more qualified, conspiracy theorist or is he a "reliable witness"?

First, I should mention that Mr Perkins has also written several books on topics as far away from hitmen as could be imagined - for example, published between 1994 and 1999:
Psychonavigation: Techniques for Travel Beyond Time;
Shapeshifting: Shamanic Techniques for Global and Personal Transformation;
The World Is As You Dream It: Teachings from the Amazon and Andes.
Also, on John Perkins' own website HERE is a note about his current 7-session, over-the-phone teaching course “The Path of the Dreamshifter: A Shamanic Journey to Awaken Your Highest Creative Powers & Birth Your Soul’s Vision into Reality!”

There has to be an interesting natal chart attached to this apparently contradictory personality!

Natal chart of John Perkins - set for 12 noon as no time of birth is known. I'm looking only for parts of his chart which might account for the apparent contradictions in his nature and not attempting a full interpretation.

He was born on 28 January 1945. His birthday is the day after my own, the year is a little different, however. He has the Grand Trine involving Neptune and Uranus quite a few of his generation have, in his case it's an Air Grand Trine involving his Aquarius Sun (my own is with Mercury and is in Earth).

His Aquarius (sign of the rebel and the unexpected) Sun (self) is opposed by a Leo Moon (whatever his time of birth). Moon (inner self) would be somewhere between 6 and 19 degrees of Leo (sign of leader and lover of the spotlight), and so would qualify as being conjunct Pluto (intensity, passion, obsession, darkness) at 9 Leo unless his birth were in the last hour of so of 28 January.

His Sun/Moon opposition explains something of his nature's contrasting sides then. Cool intellectually based Aquarius Sun is opposed by a warmer Leo side which can manifest also as intense and passionate - even obsessive at times.

The Grand trine, already mentioned, links his Sun to Uranus and Neptune in an harmonious intellectually-driven circuit, reflecting his core self in harmony with both Uranus the rebel and Neptune the dreamer and the....maybe even the shaman?

I'm looking for something, apart from Moon/Pluto, likely to have drawn John Perkins, initially, into that dark world he describes in books about his time as a kind of dark "hitman" for the corporations and bankers. Capricorn? Yes, his natal Mercury conjunct Mars are there. Saturn, Capricorn's ruler could well be more prominent than it appears in a 12 noon chart. I'd surmise that it might fall near the midheaven or even more likely close to the ascendant (giving Cancer rising, which would match the intuitive and sensitive side apparent from his more metaphysical interests.) That's pure speculation though.


mike said...

Until your post today, I wasn't aware that I had previous knowledge of this you, didn't think I had heard of him. I saw him on an old PBS' "Now" program:

This interview downplays the sensationalism he purports in his books and shifts his interest to global inequity. This would have been an ideal venue, had he truly had something of consequence, conspiratorially, to reveal, but Brancaccio would have taken him to task.

My take on Perkins is that he hyper-inflates his personal knowledge of USA involvement with other nations and with the World Bank's affairs. It's absolutely no secret that the USA financed and leveraged many countries' deposing of leadership in the 1970s and 1980s (Latin America's Operation Condor of the 1970s; Iran-Contra affair of the name two of MANY). His strength seems to be in isolating factoids and equivocating them into revelations.

His term, economic hit man, to describe loaning large sums of money for infrastructure development, could just as easily be used to describe any major improvement projects within the USA. Someone always makes the big bucks off of these contracts, kick-backs are common, and usually it involves unaccounted dollars.

A modern day version: the Afghanistan and Iraq wars have been rife with private contractor fraud, billions of missing dollars, and bribes.

I'm glad to know that he's been a successful author, made money from his books, and appears to be investing in humanitarian causes.

I think his full moon, Sun-Moon relationship with the Sun in detriment, allows him to believe in himself, but would tend to make him very self-centered, proud, arrogant, and self-important...he knows how to market himself.

mike (again) said...

P.S. - He reminds me of the many self-help and New Age authors of the recent decades that have made many dollars promoting "feel good" books. These authors have a method of embellishing information readily available for free and charging for the re-interpretation.

Twilight said...

mike ~~ Thanks for the link to the transcript of the PBS interview.

I can't decide what to think about Mr Perkins. I'm sure in his book he will embroider and embellish undisputed facts - as a way of gaining the attention of the public (and selling more books). It's something I wouldn't criticise as long as the basic facts are correct. If his "Hitman" book drew attention to things most people were unaware of, or only dimly aware of as something they'd not fully thought through, then I think it was fine to come over a wee bit hyperbolic (it's the American way anyway ;- )

What bothers me is the total contradiction of his other, new-agey, metaphysical interests. In spite of the astrological bits which might indicate this as a possibility, it still doesn't sit well with me.

I've no time for most self-help authors, and in Mr Perkins case I much prefer him in his other role - highlighting facts more people should be aware of, whether embellished or not.
These things are becoming more and more important for new generations to know of, and in danger of being buried deeper and deeper as the years pass.

Twilight said...

This quote from the transcript is important:

"The electricity, the highways, the ports were seldom even used by the people who needed them the most. But the country would be left holding a huge debt and it would be such a large debt that they couldn't possibly repay it. And so at some point in time, we economic hit men, we go back into the country and say, "Look, you owe us a lot of money, you can't pay your debts. Therefore sell us your oil at a real cheap price or vote with us at a UN vote or give us land for a military base or send some of your troops to some country where we want you to support us."

mike (again) said...

Well, I'm not quite sure what information he's conveying to others that is so important to pass-on. I looked at a few blurbs about his "economic hit man" books and the PBS transcript. His major complaint is the US $ spent on foreign, third world infrastructure. He prefers the $ go directly to the poverty stricken individual.

Over the years, I've read about vaccines that can't be delivered to villages, due to lack of roads within proximity. Many vaccines and medications require refrigeration (electricity).

Are you familiar with the term "Organic Fair Trade"? American retailers of organic products (coffee, cocoa, oils, etc) now by-pass the middle man and purchase directly from small villages that grow these. Roads capable of handling large trucks that can get to the nearest airport, rail, or boat shipper are vital. The grower is no longer at the mercy of the middle man...the grower receives a much higher profit, which can lead to economic growth for that grower.

Micro-loans to small business owners in third world countries have improved the lives of many individuals. Many of these small businesses require clean, running water and dependable electricity. Plus a road to ship goods in and out of the communities.

You probably read in the PBS transcript about the money loaned for clinics and hospitals. Perkin's complaint was under-staffing of these facilities and not enough health professionals. Many doctors and nurses from the industrialized nations volunteer their services at these facilities. These are the only facilities for hundreds of miles in many cases and serve very large populations. The US has allowed educational visas and grants to increase these health professionals from the local population.

The development of the USA's infrastructure was vital to increase the standard of living of its citizens and to increase this country's gross domestic product. Everyone has benefited. I can guarantee that many of the 1% became richer during the process...they owned the stuff that made it happen. Infrastructure development employed the poor, under-educated laborers, but gave them a wage and a future. It decreases disease with clean water and sanitary waste collection and disposal, and minimizes disease vectors. It builds a better future for our youth.

Everyone benefits with major infrastructure development. Progress of any kind can't be made without it. I don't know of any first world country that does not have a vast infrastructure.

I hear his message, but I don't agree with it. Financial waste is part and parcel of large transactions of any kind, unfortunately.

mike (again) said...

Sorry...I just now saw that you posted a quote from the transcript.

Much third world debt is forgiven. Oil prices are controlled by the OPEC cartel. Most third world countries do not have a standard, viable militia to support the US' needs. I don't know about the UN'd have to ask our NSA...I hear they eavesdrop on all telephone calls at the UN!

As I said in the previous comment, economic progress or an increase in a country's gross domestic product cannot be obtained without an investment in major infrastructure projects. That's basically the only way out of economic dependence. China is probably the best example of recent times. China has invested heavily in infrastructure and they are now the primary lender to all countries! Unheard of several decades ago.

Twilight said...

mike ~ The USA was empire building - Britain did it once upon a time, other countries have done it. Maybe it's an essential part of human development - I don't know.

What I do not like is what that quote in my 2nd comment above highlights. The potential strong-arming re acquiring cheap oil or the military establishment (goodness knows what else) in their lands, of countries supposedly receiving the US's philanthropic aid. A rather backhanded help probably not fully explained or appreciated by them initially.

You know more about this than I do, mike. I'm giving my gut reactions, which have been soured by what has gone on in the almost 10 years since I arrived here. There's little to bolster up my respect.

DC said...

I remember him explaining his Economic Hitman practices in the Zeitgeist film (possibly in the addendum). It was interesting listening to him talk for sure.

Twilight said...

DC ~~ Thank you for the heads up about that - I've found it online and am listening as I type. :-)

Here's a link:

Twilight said...

DC ~ Very good presentation/interview, it was.

I felt JP was sincere, genuine, not exaggerating, and made a lot of sense in the last sections of the talk.....although (I thought) being very optimistic about how things could be turned around - in theory. yes, in practice... ???

ex-Chomp said...

Oh someone who is sincere!! :

These are good news...

So it is, so it functioned and still partly functions, but it can last no more for it is over, substantially over: A path is closed.

One has two choices only: To accept this and **go beyond**, or to resist and refuse trying to maintain the past and the passed position of dominance.

Which is the proven way to construct a real big disaster.
History proved and proves it.
Beyond any possible doubt ...

mike (again) said...

John Perkins is associated with many organizations and is held in esteem and respect for his views. They all give him glowing reviews for his books and interviews.

I performed a search on several of these same sites for support of humanitarian aide and support of infrastructure aid to countries; likewise searched through my search engine with the same search criteria.

In a twist, the same sites supporting Perkins are in favor of infrastructure assistance and humanitarian aide...the vast majority encourage aid for the very same modalities Perkins does not support! A general search indicates many nations offer infrastructure aid to developing countries with many authors saying not enough is being done to assist these countries develop. Some articles express outrage that we can allow so many developing countries to wallow and rot by not supporting infrastructure aid, particularly in Haiti and the African countries supported by many of our Hollywood elite.

After a reasonably extensive search of John Perkins articles, I find that he's respected and has a huge following. I understand his views regarding infrastructure aid, but I agree to disagree! Apparently some of his followers feel the same as I do. I think that most aid given to developing countries comes with strings attached in some form and any time large sums of money are involved, graft, corruption, and profiteering are to be expected (sadly!).

USA aid to Egypt is a timely example in the news currently...we need Egypt for its strategic position toward our military efforts.

Twilight said...

ex-Chomp ~ "the proven way to construct a real big disaster.

So true, but when will they ever learn?

Twilight said...

mike ~ I appreciate your efforts mike, realising that accepting what we see online without further research is the road to a bad place.

Perhaps there is never aid or philanthropy without strings attached in political doings. I say there should be such a thing, especially when a nation like the USA puffs itself up and declares itself "exceptional", and sees itself as watchman for the world.

Which is, I guess, like saying it'd be nice if we could eat chocolate cake all day and not lose weight.

We'll agree to disagree, yes.

LB said...

Twilight - I know next to nothing about John Perkins, but looking at his chart, maybe his Nodal axis offers us some insight into his character's contradictions and apparent change of heart.

His South Node-Mercury-Mars conjunction in Capricorn would fit with his former work as a self-described "economic hit man" who actively participated in the spread of what he refers to as "predatory capitalism".

Taking it a step further, ruler of his South Node, Saturn (in Cancer, no less), forms a square to both Neptune and Chiron in Libra; squares can make us aware of our own inner contradictions by placing us in stressful situations that highlight them. As the pull of his North Node began to tug at him (and assuming his motives were pure and his perceptions accurate), he may have become increasingly aware of the effect his work was having and *more* bothered by the role he was playing in misleading others into leveraging their native lands and resources for new infrastructure (Saturn in Cancer). Neptune and Chiron conjunct in Libra would make it possible for him to feel at a profound level the harm caused by relationships/agreements based on lies and illusion or those that value profit over compassion and social and economic justice.

His North Node in Cancer would have offered him the potential of developing a greater sensitivity and caring in honoring native roots, even the home and traditions of the indigenous people he encountered through his work. Ruler of his South Node, the Moon, if conjunct Pluto and opposite his Sun in Aquarius, ideally, would have made it easier to view himself and the role he played more objectively, and to want to transform that role and the effect he had on others for the greater good.

It gets complicated (and there's more), but basically his Nodal axis and their rulers seem to explain a lot about his contradictions. I'm assuming he still earns a good living (teaching, books, etc.) only now his focus has changed. It also fits with his shamanic work (Saturn and North Node in Cancer) . . . or so I think. I'm not an astrologer, I only play one on the internet.:)

LB said...

" Ruler of his South Node, the Moon. . ."

Oops! Meant to type Ruler of his *North* Node, not South. Sorry.:(

Twilight said...

LB ~~ The nodal axis does fit the situation well. I'm always wary of referring to the nodes when I don't have time of birth, because I'm never sure how quickly they move. Here the nodes are in mid-sign though, so even if they had shifted from the noon position they'd still be in the same sign I think.

Very good points, thanks!

When I first read about John Perkins and his transformation I at once thought of - believe it or not - Linda Lovelace.

Her chart is on one of my old posts (one which receives by far the most hits of any, and on a regular basis too - for some reason).

Her Moon's nodes are Taurus/Scorpio - south being Scorpio.

LB said...

Twilight - I'll have to check out your Linda Lovelace post - sounds interesting. My Aries SN is in the 8th, opposite my Venus ruled NN-Venus-Sun (obviously in Libra), so I know a little bit about about radical transformations.

Twilight said...

LB ~ Mine are TaurusS/ScorpioN - other way round to Linda Lovelace's :-)
S. Node conjunct Sun's ruler Uranus. Only thing I can relate to the nodes for myself is a definite rhythm of change as they get back to natal position or opposite.

Twilight said...

mike ~ glancing through these comments again I see I'd become so excited at the thought of eating chocolate cake all day that I made a hash of the metaphor:

"Which is, I guess, like saying it'd be nice if we could eat chocolate cake all day and not lose weight."

Should have deleted "not", of course, and if Blogger were as up to date as some other blog platforms it would provide a comment edit facility. And, come to think of it, a way for commenters to reply to a particular comment and have their response appear under the relevant earlier comment.

I'd have thought that, as part of their big interface change last year, those reasonably common items could have been included to bring 'em up to speed with Wordpress and others.