Back in the 1970s, economically developing countries were looked upon as nests of corruption… The United States, on the other hand, was considered to be – and for the most part was – above such massive corruption.
That has totally changed. Drastically. Activities that would have been viewed as immoral, unacceptable, and illegal in the United States in my EHM days are now standard practice. They may be covered in a patina of oblique rhetoric, but beneath that surface, the same old tools are applied at the highest levels of business and government.
– The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, p 265
I published The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man last year, twelve years after the original, because things had gotten so much worse. The tools we EHMs used in developing countries – the corruption, the deceptions, the debt, the threats, the fear, and the false stories – had come back to haunt the US, Europe and the rest of the so-called developed world. In addition to updating the original book, I added fifteen new chapters to describe the ways contemporary EHMs have created a global Death Economy that is failing us – and also to provide a strategy each of us can use for turning that Death Economy into a Life Economy.
The “patina of oblique rhetoric” I wrote about a year ago has been ripped off. During the first months of the Trump administration, corruption, deceptions, debt, threats, fear, and false stories have become overt.
Over the years, I’ve often condemned the “revolving door” that’s been part of American politics. There is nothing new about presidents with close ties to Big Oil, like the Bushes and to Wall Street, like Clinton and Obama. There is nothing new about cabinet members and heads of agencies who hail from and return to the very businesses they are supposed to regulate. There is nothing new about elected officials who earn millions of dollars as lobbyists after leaving public office. There is nothing new about laws and court decisions, like Citizens United, that give increasing power to corporations – and legalize what once was considered as corruption and bribery. These things are wrong. They are contrary to the principles of a democracy. They should be changed. But they are not new in America.
What is new is a president who makes no attempt to hide his immense personal commercial interests in businesses that are known to be hotbeds of corruption, such as casinos, and where US foreign policy is jeopardized, such as in dealings with Russia. What is new are the many politicians in our national and state capitols who openly advocate bigotry and policies that favor the rich at the expense of all the rest of us. What is new is the overt declaration that the US is an imperial power that needs to increase its already huge, offensive, and budget-breaking military presence around the world. What is new is the lack of even an attempt to sound as though our country wants to defend equality, fairness, and the democratic principles that most of us were raised to champion.
Perhaps the great gift of the Trump administration is that it has ripped off the patina. Those who claimed that US business and politics were essentially “transparent,” those who argued that the US was a true democracy and that our political system “might not be perfect, but it is the best in the world,” those who sneered at the under-the-table dealings in “banana republics” and held the US out as a shining example of how to do it right – all of those people, all of us, have been forced to look at the dark shadow that lurked beneath that patina.
How do you remove a shadow?
You walk under the light.
Now that the patina has been removed, we in the US can walk under the light. We can expose ourselves to the true weaknesses – and strengths – of who we are. By being forced to look at our shadow, we have been liberated from the platitudes that have blanketed us in self-deception. We are free to admit to our liabilities and assets. That is the first step to change. It is a step forward into revitalization – and along the path to realizing our true potential.