tv Book Discussion on The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man CSPAN May 7, 2016 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT
residents and businesses have come together united and perspective of rebilling the city. this is a very important step forward as we unite behind the memorial and look forward to the future. >> now on booktv, literary tour of san bernardino, california. with the help of local cable partners, time warner and charter. while in san bernardino we spoke with a council member about his desire to construct a memorial in or of the victims of the december 2, 2015 terror shootings in the city. >> as chief economist at a major international consulting firm, perkins. the u.s. treasury department, fortune 500 corporations and leaders of countries. his groundbreaks expo say of the confessionses of an economic
hitman spent an astonishings 70 weeks on "the new york times" bestseller list. since then his books have sold more than one million copies. also a offender and board member of the dream change. please give a big round of applause and help us welcome john perkins. [applause] >> thank you. to you for this amazing independent book store. love independent book stores. thank you. [applause] >> thank you all for being here tonight. it's a great pleasure to be here with you. i think what i wanted to actually share a st. patrick's day story with you. happy st. patrick's day. so, a couple years ago, i was in
washington, dc, and i was at a dinner with a bunch of people from the state department, very high level people at the state department, and i was actually in washington to speak at the green festival, and mentioned to one of the high level people from the state department it i was there to speak at the green festival, and he says, my gosh, but it's not st. patrick's day yet. that's the state department for you. [laughter] >> green is irish. so, i think my being here begs the question, why would i write confessions of an economic hitman 12 years after the other confessions of an economic hitman, the original, was written. it was really two parts to that answer to that question. one is that things have changed
so radically since then. the whole economic hitman system that i describe in my book is taking place in the developing countries and has now, like a cancer, metastasized and spread to the united states, europe, and the rest of the world. the second part of the question is that people around the planet have become aware of this. we are waking up to the communist revolution, people everywhere understand the system is a failure and we live on a very tiny space station without any shovels. we can't get off. we have to fix it. we have to take care of it. and i think it is also then to realize where we are today, begs four questions. one is, how did we get to this situation that we're in today? a space station on the verge of crashing. two, what drives the system?
three, do we have any reason to hope we can really change it? four, if we have reason to hope, that do we do to change it? and so i'd like to answer those questions. i want to stop and -- i have tremendous hope. i know that we're winning this revolution. this battle. this war, this movement. we're winning it and we're going to continue to win it. we're going to move forward and create something marvelous. let's go back and take a look at this first question. how did we get here? i think i'm in a rather unique position to describe that because i was in the front lines of creating some of the problems as an economic hitman. my official title was chief economist, as clay mentioned, at a consulting firm in boston. my real job was to identify countries with resources that our corporations covet. like oil. a arranged a huge loan to the cub troy from the world bank of
a sister organization. however, the money didn't go to the country. it went to our own corporations, like one not to for a from her, bechte ely and others who made huge profits of the deals and built the infrastructure projects like power systems and industrial parks. courts, airports, things that benefited few wealthy families this ones that own the industry and the commercial establish: and the majority of the people suffered tremendously because money was diverted from paying for health care, education, and other social services, to go towards trying to pay thes' on the loan. in the end the principle was never paid so we go back to country and say since you can't pay your debt, give your oil or
whatever cheap to our organizations without any social regulation or environmental restrictions or privatize, sell your utilities and your water and sewage system, sell your bank, your school, your prisons to our corporations. and then the few cases where we failed, jackles would go in and these are people that either stole government or assassinate their leaders. i talked about how two of my clients who had been good friends, a democratic include elected president of ecuador, and the -- had tremendous integrity. they just buy into an ideal. i couldn't convince them. i was fascinated by the cia assets. so, in this way -- want to just also mention that when the jackles failed, the sad saddam
hussein and moammar gadhafi, had good security forces, and had look-alike doubles. so, in this way we created the world's first truly global empire. it's not an american empire. it's a corporate empire. and it's global. the first global one, and it's become even more prevalent than those days. so i just want to share with you a little story to get a little more detail about that. using jaime as an example in ecuador. i'd been a peace corps volunteer in ecuador from 1968 to 1971 ask then became chief economist, economic hit man and was sent back to ecuador. there was a military junta in charge, and they were a puppet. they were making huge progress
in the amazon destroying the ecuadorian amazon. you no to the texas chevron story. how many of you know of the land? all right. the founder -- if you don't know go john perkins.org and it will take you there so, the alliance is working on collecting loans that were made during that time. the military junta was supporting the oil companies, and eventually in the late '70s, a decision was made to have democratic elections. a long story, the details are in the new confession's an economic hitman, how that came about. but to make a long story short, he was elected president and ran on a platform that said, ecuadorians -- the revenues from ecuadorian oil are going to help the agency would dorian people.
texaco and other oil companies will pay a share of their profits to the people. was after he won the election was sent down to convince him not to fulfill his campaign promises. convinced him by getting him to take large loans that would make his family and friends very wealthy. they do that for the people in control. jaime refused. he had tremendous integrity, and no matter what i did, he wouldn't go along with it. i'm trying to desame thing in panama and he also refused. and yet these men, both knew that salvador acken da had been taken out by the cia in chile, and others in congo, they were very familiar with these stories and i would tell them these stories. you can play the game and get rich. over here i have a couple of
hundred million dollars for you and your family. if you don't play the game in this pocket, the jackles are right behind me itch didn't carry a gun but they did. nonetheless, jamie died in an airplane crash in may of 1981. no question it was a rigged plane cabrera, omar, got his family together right after that and said my brother, jaime has been assassinated and i'm probably next. but don't worry too much about me because i've accomplished what i came here to accomplish. i signed the canal treaty with jimmy carter. the panama canal will be in the hands of the panamanian people. that's what i wanted to see happen. less than three months later, the same thing happened to him. almost the same plane. a twin otter that crashed,
killing him. and in more recent times, we have seen him just in 2009, some something very similar happened flow president of honduras. trying too raise the minimum wage of honduras by 60%. big corporations like chiquita and dole other, corporations, objected to this. the economic hitmen went to honduras in 2009, tried to convince him to come around. he wouldn't. so he was taken out in a coup. not assassinated. he was taken out in a coup. and we all know what happened in the honduras, two very important environmental activists assassinatedded in honduras. in three years later, 101 activists were assassinated in honduras.
now the most dangerous country in hemisphere, maybe the world. these things happen. today, we have another whole set of economic hitmen who come to the united states, as i said earlier. these are wall street moguls, bankers, they have -- go by the names of consultant, political adviser, and the vulture capital people, the managers of the vulture capital funds like the ones that just settled a deal with argentina for argentina to pay them $5 billion, these are modern form's of economic hitmen. this is what has happened to the system. this is what has brought us to here, and i go into great detail in the book about all of these different forms of the new economic hitmen that have come along, but i just will share a couple of things with you. met with a bank, senior bank vice president from chase bank,
not too long ago. the short version is he explained know, you know, back a few years ago we bankers had a lot of integrity. if you came to me and asked me for $500,000 loan and for a house you wanted to buy, i'd probably try to convince you to buy a $300,000 house. i didn't want to foreclose. but after 9/11, which was really the cutoff date, after 9/11, we all got together and said we'll tell you, take out a $700,000 loan youch may hear of have too tighten you belt but you can get twice nat for it in a few years. then the market crashes and the person loses their house, the banks then repackages it and sells it to some developer, makes a double profit off of it. and this banker from chase was very frank about this. this is what has been happening in this industry. we have seen our bankers, people
we were taught all our lives to trust, failed us. our politicians. every politician out there just about, accept a lot of money from big corporations for campaign, campaign financing and also are told if they don't get elected or decide not to run next time, they'll have very lucrative consulting jobs. one example out of many, christopher dodd's father, of connecticut, a senator for 20 years, highly respected. he was chairman of the senate banking committee. and when he ran for president, his financial services industry gave him huge amounts of donations for his campaign. various people you would watchdog, that's extreme corruption. that's just not -- a form of economic hitmen. a lot in the book about this whole new branch of economic hitmen who use all the tool is
used in developing countries, they're being used here, student debt. credit card debt. health care debt. that is slavery and being used in such a big way. so that i want to move on to the second question. what drives this system? as i said earlier this new global empire is a corporate empire. and it's driven by one goal to maximize profits regardless of the social or environmental costs. that's the new goal. when the american revolution was actually fought not against the king of england but against the east india company, which controlled the king of england. people don't think about that, but the east india company controlled more than half the world's trade in those days and basically wrote the laws for england. the king of england was part of
that coercion and the company was powerful and once the colonists won their freedom. the founders decided no corporation should have that kind of power again. imagine that. so, it was written across the land that no corporation in the united states or any state could get a charter unless its guaranteed to serve the public interest. nothing about profit. that was maintained for over 100 years. and lasted on average for ten years. then at the corporations had to go back and demonstrate they had served the public interest, and would continue to do so. that ended in the late 1800s when john d. rockefeller convinced the state of delware to change the law. said my oil companies can't work under that kind of treatment. you have to change the law, and if you do, we'll pay really good taxes and new legislators can make a lot of money off this deal.
and as we all know, it is worse. so when i was in business school, in the late '60s, there was still this concept of public interest, public service. was taught in business school that a good ceo makes a decent rate of return for investors, and also serves the public interest, basically takes good care of his employees, of his customers and pays taxes. it's a good system. imagine paying taxes if you're a corporation. pays taxes, and also contributes money to the education system and recreational system. that all changed almost exactly 200 years to the day after the original intent of the public service thing was signed. it's all changed, in 1976 when milton freedman won the nobel prize in economics by stating, among other things, the most important thing he said was the only responsibility of business is to maximize profits.
regardless of the social and environmental costs. and businesses have bought into that ever since. it's given license to ceos and some would say a mandate to ceos to do whatever it takes to maximize profits, including corrupting the system. and yet it's a relatively new concept just in '76 and when milton freedman came up with the concept, everyone -- a shortage of capital, and an abundance of nature. we had plenty of resources. many can remember that. and the earth would have take whatever trash we threw at her. the air, the water, the earth, nobody was talking about oil or climate change so maybe freedman had something going for him at that time. what we n.o.w. is things have
changed radically, and what drives the system is concept of maximizing profits regardless of social costs is no longer valid. we can't live with it any longer, can we? snow, we're going to change it, aren't we? yes. so that takes us to the next question. where do we get hope? is there hope for change? i just want to say that throughout history, human beings have gone through extremely difficult circumstances itch think about any great-grandmother who figured the united states was ending with the civil war. and my grandmother who thought the world was going to be over with world war i and then the transportation and there there was world war ii and then there was stalinnism, and we have gone through so many times but always we have come together, brought our resources and our communes together and we created change, and one of the ways we have done that is by understanding that there's two realities.
the objective reality, this microphone, and then there's the perceived reality, which is what i'm speaking through the microphones, and a perceived reality drives human society no such thing as a corporation. except as we perceive of it and then codify it into law. there's no such thing as a country until we perceive of borders and codify them into law. no such thing as an economy until we perceive of it. the perceived reality, and that is what has driven and that's where our hope for change comes in. i was struck by how in 1773, the perceived reality was that the british empire was invincible, the strongest empire in the history of the world no way a bunch of farmers and hunters and fishermen could possibly stand up against it. and then george washington stood up before the continental
congress and remembered 12 years earlier -- a long time between books -- how he fought the french and indian war and the and he had seen 1400 british soldiers completely defeated by 300 indians. the british lost a thousand men in that battle. the indians lost less than 100. the british -- died in that battle and washington was witness. he went to the continental congress and he said, all we got to do is stand behind trees. they're wearing red coats and standing out there in a line waiting to be shot. and then tom payne and thomas jefferson and others wrote amazing pamphlet to empower the people, and in less than a year the perceived reality went from they canned be defeated to, we got 'em. that's where we're at today. that is hope, yes.
is there hope? my god, there's so much hope. we have changed so many things throughout history. just look at -- when i was in college, there apartheid in south africa weapon convinced corporations, just a few of us, convinced corporations -- only takes a critical mass to convince corporations to stop supporting apartheid and its ended. the river, the charles river in boston, where i went to school, rebound it was so polluted. river on fire with pollution pollution. we got to the corporations to clean them up and open their doors wider to minoritieses and women and completely changed everybodies attitude -- to label food, we have calories and nutrition and fat and all that stuff. we have again from ten years ago, a country that had almost no solar or wind pour and now growth and wind pour occurring like that. all the renewables.
coal production, coal fired power plans ended. there's still a few out there but no more being built. we have made huge changes. we can do it. you can do it. so now we have to move into an era where we're really looking at what is -- how do we change the drives force? this brings us to the next question. what do we do? how do we change this? and the real answer is, all we got to do is what the american colonialists did. change that perception. overnight. and like the american colonists, the answer to the question of who can do it is you. us. we the people. our president, whoever the next president is, is not going to do it. the president is vastly
important bit hat very limited power. corporations control washington. even if we elect a president -- let's say sanders gets elected and say he hasn't accepted a penny from a corporation. he is still going to be surrounded by politicians and lobbyists who have accepted a lot of money from corporations and also who have been promised consulting jobs when they get out of whatever they're doing as elected officials. so, we know that the system is stacked against them. i'm get something sort of feedback here. is this a problem? only 0 problem for me. so, it's always been that we the people have to do it. it was that way during the american revolution, that way during the wars and during the depression, it's that way now.
the circus of the presidential elects -- and god bless all those people who are pouring their hearts out to run but it's a diversion in a way. we want to think if only our person gets elected, everything will change, but we know in our hearts it won't. we have to make it happen. you and i. have to make it happen. and how do we do that? well, a good reason wife i wrote the new confessions of an economic hitman because there's a whole strategy in there how we can make this happen. a long list, but students can do, what retired people can do, what people between students and retired can do, what investors can do regulators can do, but the main problem is to recognize the corporations have the control, the driving force is this idea that they have to maximize profits and that's what we have to change we have to understands that the
corporations depend on you to buy their goods and services so invest in them. work on them. to support them with your tax dollars, and government policies. they're totally dependent on us, and i have to say that i -- i've been lecturing to -- recently lectured to a corporate -- ceos and cfos, and i -- i contacted the organizees and i said, why -- this must be a mistake you. have the wrong john perkins. no, they said. you're the one who wrote confessions of an economic hitman. i said, why? and they said because our executives are smart people. and they know that the system isn't working. and they quote statistics. a lot of statistics. one of the most important ones is that some of us live in the united states.
we consume almost 30% of the world residents -- world's resources. that's not a model. china was 19% of the world's population can't do it. india can't. brazil can't. russia can't. it's a failed system. we need to understand that. can't continue with this. we have to change it. and what it's going to take is a new role for corporations. instead of maximizing profits, let's say, hey, make a decent return for your investors with need investors for new technology, and serve the public interest. let's go back to the wisdom of the founding fathers. a corporation's need to serve us. not just a handful of wealthy people. you and me. and we need to convince these corporations to convert this economy into a life economy. a life economy is an economy that is based on cleaning up
pollution, regenerating, devastated environment and alleviating the causes of desperation, violence, terrorism, around the world. so, imagine, just imagine that if a corporation, ones building missiles, tanks, war equipment, isn't dead, our tax dollars went to pay them to figure out how to mine the plastics in the ocean. how to clean up all that terrible oil, the ecuadorian amazon and the middle east and every gas staying that was ever built in the country used the oil, and imagine if we were to invest in the young people, the entrepreneurs to come along and create new technologies for energy, solar and wind but ten years from now the solar and
wind we have today will look archaic, hopefully. we come um with new forms of energy that are much better than anything we have conceived of today and transportation and communications, banking bankingd wholesale and retail. imagine i we can convince the big agribusinesses that instead of continuing to poison the earth with chemicals they really came up with methods for stabbing -- starving people around the world to grow food organically and efficiently and store it and distribute it. ...
>> what i hear from corporate executives is that we want to be green. we have kids and grandchildren, but they will say i'm afraid that if i lose half a percentage of market share the big boys will fire me. and the place may with someone who only cares about market share. so so what they want is for you, all of us, to go out and demand that they change. overload them with e-mails. tweets, post on facebook saying i love your products, not not the bad guys. the good guys. i'm never going to buy it again until you pay your workers in indonesia fair wage, or whatever it is.
and get all your friends and neighbors, all of your social network in your circle to send that same email. these executives these executives want that, even the ones that are sociopaths. if they hear this message they will listen because sociopaths are not about making money. they're about being successful. and if we define success not as maximizing process assess but serving the public interest they will do it. we do have to give a greater return but just a decent rate of return. and so i just want to leave you and i will open it to questions and discussions in a minute, but i i just want to leave you with this incredible optimistic that i am so excited, i know were going to do this, we are already doing it. i travel all over, it was published 12 years ago i've been giving speeches all over nonstop. i've been on the road almost constantly probably 80% of my life for the last ten years.
i've been to china, the former soviet countries have been talking to the russian people and middle east. i've been to europe and latin america and all of the united states. everywhere ago, people are waking up. there is a consciousness revolution revolution just like you. their understanding that we live on a very fragile space station that has no shuttle. my 8-year-old grandson, grant will not be able to get off. maybe a few people will go to bars and never come back, maybe if you will go to the moon but most of us are stuck here. and we want to be here, don't we, it's a beautiful planet. so you are the answer. this is the revolution. so just to get a little bit more about what we all can do, like i said this is in the book the
most important thing to recognize is everyone of you needs to follow your passion. it's only passion that keeps us going. i do not know what your passion is what i know that each one of you has passion. i have a passion for writing and focus on writing. earlier tonight i was talking to a friend who has a passion for designing houses, furniture, cabinet and so forth, from a very environmental to sustainable standpoint. if you are a carpenter that's what you can do. if you are a dentist, and you have your hands and your clients mouths, talk to talk to them about creating a better world. if you are a parent, bring your kids up that way. we can all take different routes, different paths., different paths. but let's all had for that same destination, creating an environment that is system sustainably, world, a left life
economy instead of a death economy. i also think gender, how lucky we are that george washington did not the right path, and they didn't try to lead armies. washington had a passion passion for leading men, martha washington had a passion for organizing women to make close for men at the forefront. they each followed their passion and they noticed the same destination was getting out from under the tyranny of the british economy. we can all take different paths but let's hope for the same destination of getting out from under the tyranny of a death economy. >> each one of us has a role to play in this. again, in the the book there is
a number of recommendations i will just mention three of them as examples i we start on one, everyone of you to pick a corporation that you would like to see changed. you are probably thinking of a lot of them, walmart, chevron, monsanto, nike. take a corporation you a corporation you want to see changed and dedicate yourself. send an e-mail once a week to all of your contacts and writing this e-mail to that corporation saying monsanto or whatever it is we want you to change. we are going to help you survive into the next century because we want you to change so that is one thing you can do. the second thing you can do is think about the candidate you are considering voting for.
what is the biggest issue that candidate has presented that appeals to you. make a commitment to follow through on that issue regardless of who is in the white house. if your candidate makes it, make sure that candidate gets all your support and encouragement and you force that candidate to move forward with that issue. if your candidate doesn't get elected, you go forward anyway. because the power of the internet, the power power of social networking is much more powerful then the power of the oval office. the third thing you can do is support movements that you believe in, the climate change, and the movement.
get behind organization. join like-minded people. come together in communities. that is a really good really good way to change the perceived reality. bring that energy together to make that happen. you have the power, you have the power. think of a hero in your life. think of someone you consider a hero, no matter who that might be. i like to think of rosa parks. when i was a was a kid growing up in rural new hampshire i had no idea that african americans had to ride on the back of a bus imparts a my country until rosa parks showed me. how many of you have ever heard of rosa parks? will who was rosa parks? oh woman who wrote on the back of a bus. she did a lot of other things but that was most significant thing. you can do that. and i had no idea my dad and i
were spraying on the mosquito on the swap behind our house in new hampshire to killed the mosquito until rachel wrote the book silent spring that told us that it's also a worldwide environmental movement. who is rachel carson? a woman who sat behind a little desk and a tiny house in pennsylvania and took out a scratch paper and started writing a book having no idea it would ever be published. much less that it would change the world. but on that subject this book, it was rejected by 39 publishers. i got 39 rejection slips. and then a very brave publisher just on the street from here in oakland published it any stay
there for a long time and then all the other publishers wanted it. stay with it. we have we have tremendous power. how many ever heard of richard davis or jack woodberry? oh my goodness. wow. california. i thought you guys were educated here. well richard and jack were my high school english teachers. as she was my third grade teacher and without them i would not be here because they taught me the power of history to change the written word, the power of writing to change history. mrs. share taught me how to deal with a billy. when i was in third grade there is a 15-year-old guy in my class and he was mean. he used to push me around on the playground and i
would go running to the teacher but she did know what to do because the law was that you had to stay in school tell your 16 and he was meaner than ever. so one time as i go running up to her crying, she said well johnny, i'm afraid you're going to have to take care of this yourself. and i said but he's big. then she said here's my suggestion next time he pushes you you just haul off and kick him in the shin and then run like hell. i don't think she is the age work, my dick, but anything happen, he became my friends. my ally, my protector. and i learned that to deal with the bully you have to stand up to him. and the bellies in the system that we have now are maximizing profit area and it's a form of capitalism, it's bullying us. we have to stand up to it. the way to stand up to it is to convince these people that we
have got to turn this economy around. we've had to transform the economy. we have to change that goal of maximizing profit into a goal of serving us. with public interest. are you ready to do that? you better be ready. i just want to leave you with one final quote. it is a 200-year-old quote. and i think it think it is very relevant to these times. and a quote that came out of the beginning of the american revolution, december, 1776, tom paine wrote these are the times that try men's souls. he went on to say if there must be trouble let it be in my day, and that my child may have peace. so i think that that is why we are all here today. so that 30 years from now when my 8-year-old grandson is my age
, he and all his brothers and sisters of all species around the world can look back at this time and say, thank god those people came together in 2016 and they all committed to taking care of the trouble in their day so that my generation can live in peace. and we still look forward to doing this with you, thank you so much for being here with me. it is such a great honor and pleasure to be here with you. thank you so much. [applause]. so i think we can have a few questions and claire has the microphone. absolutely. >> please raise your hands and one of us will come around with a microphone. please speak directly in the microphone. we we have guessed with us from c-span tonight. >> thank you for coming out.
one thing that you do not mention is that all of this corruption is centered around to the world reserve of the dollar and putting people in debt. you refer to debt and slavery. there are, one thing i'm aware of this something called big cloying currencies in general. one of the most important things people can do to subvert this power of the dollar system is to stop using, to whatever extent possible the dollar. i would like to get a feeling about that. >> yes. the power of the dollar is incredible. one of the things i talk about in the book is how qaddafi was taken down because he was trying to create a new currency and all the african nations sell oil for the currency. saddam hussain tried to do
something similar. others, in iran, they've all been taken down when they tried to do this. just recently some of the emails hillary clinton's emails come out that really talked about the revelation about what a huge impact that decision on taking it off you out. the u.s. dollar needs to be, the whole federal reserve system is terrible. we need to change it. i think this is your passion. it is a great thing for you to go into. i love that, i think we should need to make it happen. it's going to going to take a little work to make it happen but realize that you are up against a tough system here. and that makes it even more fun. the bigger the challenge, the the better. the bigger they are the harder they fall.
so go for it please, absolutely. i'm totally behind you on that. thank you. >> hello. one interesting thing about corporations is that they're treated like people. there is a lot in the movement like let's not treat them like people but i read some interesting analysis that says that will just make it worse. but one thing i thought about a lot is the conflict of punitive damages which could be for the same type of thing but it is something to avoid the same thing happening again in a similar situation. what if there is some deal where you say, okay corporations we will still let you be people but we are going to do this under a specific circumstances that we now have this thing called corporation damages. so if you are corporation then it would be
tenfold and so you build into the economic capitalistic system all of the driving forces, in a very simple idea but i was just wondering your thoughts, if anything like that could drive change. >> first of all, i think we absolutely need to change the loss that corporations are not treated as people. one big reason is that it has become very clear in the recent banking scandal, so about half a dozen of the world's biggest banks have recently admitted to creating huge crimes, leaving exchange rates in all the different systems they have been doing this for over 20 years. they have admitted to creating criminal activities, they paid 25,000,000,000 dollars in fines for criminal activities in that
one banker had been indicted why, because corporations are considered individuals. but i but i asked you, do corporations commit crime? no, banks don't commit crime, people and banks commit crime. not one of those have been indicted. in fact indicted. in fact most of them have gotten bonuses because 25,000,000,000 is a small percentage of the profit that they were allowed to keep and so the criminals have not only not been indicted, they have given in themselves huge raises. therefore, we need to take that personhood out of corporations completely. and the other thing in there, these people, what you pay taxes on? your income, right? corporations paid on the profit. well i'd rather pay taxes on my profit that my income, deduct all my expenses but it's not all that simple. we just see this over and over
and over again. the terrible abuse of the system. why would they even consider and we know to the whole idea came out of the late 18 hundreds supreme court case where it was actually just a note on the folder. it was not part of the decision. that corporations have that status but then citizens united strengthened it. we need to get that out of there. corporations are not people, they don't go to jail, you jail, you can't put a corporation in jail, so my answer is let's change that system. i think that is the most important part of it. thank you. >> let's see we can do a woman this time. >> what i would like to wish you happy st. patrick's day. i taught your book for seven
years in ireland to students and they were all really responded to it and could relight to the irish situation. i wanted to know, what made you change and since you have changed have you ever felt under threat #. >> i talk about that in the new book quite significantly. i spent some time traveling around ireland to convince the irish people to avoid against paying their debts of the referendum and they turn that down. i'm not sure they did i hurt sense that that maybe the results were raked. anyway, for ten years as i was in that system, more more i began to see how flawed it was. when i first went and i thought it was the right thing to do because business will teach you, they still do that the way to
help a poor country is to invest a lot of money in infrastructure. that's what i was doing and statistic show the economy does increase when you do that. but but as i got into this mormor what i saw was the statistics only represent the very wealthy people. right now we know the 62 people on this planet, individuals who have as much wealth as half the world's population. the statistics are skewed to these people as they are to in the united states. the poor are getting poorer, the rich are getting richard and statistics are looking really good. we began to see that and so i understood that the system was a bad one. but i have to say i have to confess that once i was in there and i realized that i should not be, i was kinda trapped. i was living living the life that i had always wanted to live. i grew up a son of a very poor teacher surrounded by boys with lots of money, hearing about their incredible adventures they had in bonus arteries and paris and to run. they were flying first class, eating in the best restaurants,
wining and dining with presidents and beautiful woman. and i was stuck. [laughter] i did not want to hear the truth. then i began to realize the that i was living on a lot of valium and alcohol. i wasn't all that happy. then after ten years i took a vacation in the virgin islands anchored off a st. john island and i rode the dinghy ashore and would climb up the hill from an old sugar plane plantation and it was a beautiful up there, it was just gorgeous. i was looking at the sun setting out the caribbean and it was totally ideally, suddenly i was struck by the fact that this plantation had been built on the bones of thousands of slaves and then i thought about the whole hemisphere being built on the bones of millions of slaves. and then i then i had to admit that
i was a slave holder. i was not dragging anyone around in chains but i was enslaving people in debt. and i made the decision not to do it again. i went back went back and quit. but then, i started writing a book and i wanted it to be an expose, it talked about a lot and i contacted others had been in the business. other jackals, and very soon i got phone calls and at the same time i got taken out to dinner by the ceo of the major consulting firm that was a competitor of ours and he took me out to dinner and said you have a great resume and i was a good economist of his rival, we like to put it in a proposal. you don't have to do any work for us, i might want to write you a check tomorrow for half 1,000,000 dollars. that was a
lot of money in 1984. just don't write the book. so what would you do? his life is being threatened as well is mine, i took the money. i reinvested it in a new career and went back to the country that i screwed and that's when i started these nonprofits, i went back and worked with people that i had screw to try to change things. i started writing other books, books about indigenous people but i didn't write the book, and then at 911 i went to ground zero and as i was standing there looking at the smoldering pit i just thought that i had to write this book. this time i would not tell anybody, i would tried to do it in secret and it would be a
concession not next rose. and once a got it out i saw was the best insurance policy that any good jackal with no that if they shot me or killed me i'd be a martyr. and sell a lot more books. however, about five months after the book came out i was in new york city and i was supposed to speak with the united nations on a tuesday, monday night i was taken to lunch by very strange freelance journalist and i went into the restroom i just flown from florida and the food was being served a couple of hours later i lost 70% of the blood in my body, internal bleeding. i was rushed to the hospital and
i did not talk about this, it happened after the first book was written but there is a whole chapter voted to the details. to make a long story short in the end i had 70% of my large intestine removed. when i asked the dr. if it had been poisoning he said yes something could've never shown up but he did know for sure. but that really impacted me. however, the book was already written and i just did a little bit more scrutiny of who i had lunch with. thank you for asking. those moments of perceived reality and a change in both of those cases. that's where we have to go. perceived reality. thank you.
we are going to take one more in and i would like to remind you to stay in your seats once we finish up tonight. here's our last question. >> hello, good evening. i was wondering, given of the last 15 years that you mentioned there was a shift in consciousness and awareness. and simultaneously there is an increase in platforms for people to make their voices heard such as twitter and alternative media, why is this on the one hand awareness increasing and on the other hand corporations seem to have more power than ever before in our political system, what do you think there'll be a tipping point at which the corporations and institutions will feel so much pressure from the people that there will be a shift in how they are structured? >> i think the answer to the first question why they taking so much more power, because they're scared.
then i don't know what to do about it. so when you don't know what to do about it you do what you can do most easily and these are the people that run the corporations. so what they're doing is trying to do what they do best. by digging in harder and harder they're trying to it's a little bit about football player he goes for the record. he he wants to go for 50 points or something that's kind of the system that we had. when will it change? it will change right away but we have to keep sending that message that it is not the number of touchdowns you may, it's not the money make that count. you and i we all need to send a new message out there. let's face it, we have it, we have been sending a message that says i want good ten issues at a
reasonable price and inexpensive price and if that means they have to be made by slaves in indonesia, i will just look the other way. i want cheap petroleum for my car if that means it destroying the amazon for, i will just look the other way we send that message and we need to change we have to send a very strong message that we want to life economy we want these corporations to be driven by one goal, and that is to serve us. and for future generations, to create a life economy that serves us, our children and grandchildren, future generations of all species, that is what we are going to insist upon and when we insist upon it strongly enough, when what happened, once we as insist upon it strongly enough when enough of us really determine, really commit as you are doing tonight really commit to create in this
world and my grandson is going to look back on when he is my age and about 16 years he'll look back and say, think i'd be made that happen. and so there's your passion to take a lead in it and this is so much fun so i mention when i was an economic hitman i was live in this life of a value in alcohol, is miserable. i. i do not travel first class very often but i travel so much that sometimes they kick me to the empty seat up there because i don't stay in first class hotels, stay stay with friends which is even better. and i'm really happy. this is fun. there's nothing more fun than this revolution i used to think damn, you wish i was born in the 1700s, this is bigger much
bigger you know what, if the colonists had lost the american revolution it would've affected a few people in america. if we lose this revolution, is going to be the end of human life as we know it. we must win it. it is time to win. we are going to win it we have fun doing it, is most blessed thing you can possibly do, it's possibly do, it's a lot bigger than the american revolution. and it's a lot more comfortable. [laughter] so are you guys going to win it? yes. >> yes, you bet you are, think is so you so much is wonderful to be here. [applause]. >> please stay in your seats until we dismiss.