I have to admit, before reading “The Secret History of the American Empire“, I had faith that our Government took care of it’s citizens. I’m not so naive to believe that corruption within our government doesn’t exist, however, I never imagined it to be to this degree. It’s rather upsetting do discover that our Government is so corrupt, and that they actually pay people for such corruption.  When I chose to read this, I thought it would be another dry book about the American Economy. It’s so much more than that. The author tells his story in a way that anyone can relate. He is an excellent writer, and knowing that these are true events makes the read that much more interesting.

John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hitman, and The Secret History of the American Empire, and several other books, was once himself an economic hitman. In short Economic hitmen are paid to bribe, steal, and deceive money from other countries. The money then gets sent back to many organizaions and pads the wallets of many wealthy individuals. The Secret History of the American Empire was published by Penguin Group, copyright 2007 by John Perkins.  You can find out more about John Perkins, his books, lectures, work and blog at http://www.johnperkins.org.

The reason this book was written was to start where he left of from with Confessions of an Economic Hitman, which I plan on reading in the near future. I feel like it’s a must read before reading The Secret History of the American Empire, as he reflects back to it often. His goal in writing these books was to confess. He wanted the people around the world to know the corruptions of many governments, not just the U.S. in hopes that we the people, would make change, economically, for our future generations. He interviewed many other EHM’s and jackals, who also wanted to confess their stories and many times during his writing was threatened and bribed.

In the first section, “Asia” he discusses the corruption in Asia. Some of the topics discussed really stuck me. He discusses the topic of sweatshops and refers to Nike and the sweatshops in Indonesia. John conducted an interview with 2 filmmakers, Jim Keady and Leslie Kretzu. Their stories, as it relates to sweatshops and Nike labor practices. It really touched on the economy of the Indonesians and the income inequality. If you think of the amount of money Nike is worth, 15.9 billion dollars, http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mlm45eflmk/1-nike-2/ in relation to the amount paid to employees of sweatshops, per day. Leslie and Jim, went to live in Indonesia to experience what it was like to try and live off 1.25 per day. 1.25 per day bought 2 small meals, if they needed other toiletries it meant they went without food. To try to live in conditions where sewage and waste is drained into open sewers, where the villages are filled with rat’s and cockroaches the size of house cats is unimaginable, yet Nike forces it to happen. They exploit factory owners, making them keep cost’s as low as possible, and the factory owner has no choice but to take a very small profit, making it impossible for them to pay any higher of a wage.

I’ve said far to many times, “Why don’t we worry about the people of our own country before we start saving other countries from devastation.” The reason, profit. In 2004 when Indonesia had their devastating tsunami, the government flew in troops, they made people think their goal was to relieve disaster victims. They sent in teams to guard U.S. contractors, however their agenda was to get rid of the GAM, a local organization that dealt with profiting from oil, gas and other local resources. GAM was grossly effected by the tsunami and they shifted from bargaining to caring for the victims of the tsunami. They were unable to recover from the tsunami, forcing them to sign a peace-treaty with our U.S. government. “The tsunami virtually assured that the exploitation of Aceh will continue unabated.”-1.

United states supported slaughter, this section discusses Indonesians human rights and environmental violations. Our U.S. government supplied the weapons for Indonesia to invade and massacre Timor, who declared their independence from in 1975 from Portugal.

He discusses the issues in the middle east, the bankruptcy of the united states government and how they exploit other countries out of oil, demanding tax breaks all so they could dominate the supply of petrolatum. Oil was a major reason for the attack on pearl harbor, after peace was made U.S. Oil companies convinced congress to save our supply for wars and emergencies, and since then, I feel most wars have been centered around oil. He covers how the government’s in the middle east are manipulated.

This entire book is about exposure of the government and the corruptions that occur, not just by our government but also by corporate. How any major corporation or government will lie, steal, beat or murder anyone that may get in their way. He covered Asia, Latin America, The Middle East and Africa. It’s not just to expose but also so we can make change, so possibly our future generations won’t live the same way we do. I think what effected me most about this book is the economy of some of these countries. People living in complete poverty barely able to eat while the governments know this is happening and even caused these problems. We’ve discussed poverty and income inequality, this book out lines just that. He discussed the environmental issues that could end our planet. These things don’t have to happen though, “to change the world we need to change the corporatocracy; we must stop allowing those few men to continue shaping our planets destiny.” -John Perkins “The Secret History of the American Government.” P.272.-2 He discusses ways we can take care of our environment, and a recent meeting with an executive that changed Mitsubishi policies to be more environmentally friendly and how his bosses were afraid to take the change to the board for fear of being fired. He talks about how many corporations experience the same fear and how RAN is trying to change that by accepting responsibility for their lives and the future generations. For more information about RAN see http://www.ran.org/. RAN has made many efforts to change our environment.

After reading this, it has made me think about our government and it’s operations. It’s made me more skeptical about even our coming elections. It’s no surprise that our president and congress is bought by corporations to keep policies in their favor. I would highly suggest reading this and his blog, as we can’t just sit back and complain anymore. We have to act. If we don’t there will never be change. One thing I wish was covered is how the little man can make change. I feel like he discussed more of the changes bigger corporations are making and himself through his non-profits. But I left still feeling like I could do very little in the grand scheme of things. I think the biggest insight offered by the author was making change in corporations, he truly believes, based on scientific evidence, that our environment will not improve, and possible vanish if change doesn’t happen soon, we need to give our future an environment they want to inherit.

I feel like my writing cannot do his book any justice. Below you will find a short video about what he did and why he chose to change.




1.Perkins, J. The Secret of the American Empire. New York; NY: Penguin Group; 2007.

2.Perkins, J. The Secret of the American Empire. New York; NY: Penguin Group; 2007.