'Economic hitmen target emerging economies like Turkey'

John Perkins, economist and author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man speaks to Anadolu Agency.

'Economic hitmen target emerging economies like Turkey'

By Gokhan Kurtaran


"Economic hitmen" are targeting emerging economies like Turkey, John Perkins, economist and author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, said.

“I have no doubt that there are economic hitmen targeting emerging economies like Turkey’s,” Perkins said in an interview to Anadolu Agency on Monday.

“These days, they work for many different governments not just the United States. They also work for every major corporation. They pit one country against another in order to arrange huge tax benefits, wage rates and other labor conditions, and numerous other policies that benefit their corporations, but hurt the people of the country.” he said.

He added that Turkey could make use of new souces of external financing by diversifying its options.

“I would encourage Turkey to stay away from the IMF [International Monetary Fund]. Today there are many other options, like the one from Qatar. Countries like Turkey should use the leverage these offer, forcing the IMF and other financial institutions from China, United States, and the Gulf countries to compete with each other. That way Turkey will have many options to strike better deals. It should do everything possible to avoid more foreign debt,” Perkins said.

“I can say that the emerging markets should stand strong against debt. Countries like Iceland, Argentina, and Ecuador provide an example of how this can be done. My advice to emerging market countries is that they band together, refuse to pay debts they were taken on unjustly, through corruption, or by governments that were not supported by the citizens.

“Countries like Turkey should definitely be negotiating with Russia, China, the Gulf countries, etc. I don’t think they necessarily need to form alliances, but should use the leverage these countries offer to strike deals that are much more beneficial to their people.”

Bring US 'to its sense'

He also criticized U.S. President Donald Trump's foreign policy moves.

“It appears that President Trump has his heart set on disrupting traditional international relationships and global economics. As you well know, Turkey is not the only country where he has imposed sanctions and tariffs. His policies are extremely dangerous for the United States, Turkey, and the entire world,” he added.

He said that the international community should work together to bring the U.S. administration "to its senses".

He notes that economic hitmen are much more prevalent today than, for instance, in the 1970s when he was chief economist at the major international consulting firm Chas. T. Main.

“When I had that job, it was relatively generic. We wanted to make profits and gain control of resources for American corporations. Usually my company didn’t care which corporations made those profits, as long as we were assured of playing an advisory role throughout the process. Today, there are still people with a job like mine. More than back in my day,” he said.

“In addition, every major international corporation, from Walmart to Nike to Exxon (and everything in between) has its own version of economic hitmen. They try to strike deals that benefit them and usually hurt the country. Furthermore, today there are economic hit men from many other countries, including Russia and China. Globalization has created huge opportunities for economic hit men around the planet.”

Perkins says that he has advised the World Bank, United Nations, the IMF, the U.S. Treasury Department as well as Fortune 500 corporations and leaders of countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

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