John Perkins was Chief Economist at a major international consulting firm where he advised the World Bank, United Nations, the IMF, U.S. Treasury Department, Fortune 500 corporations, and governments in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Since then, his books have sold more than 1 million copies and been printed in over 30 languages. He has been featured on ABC, NBC, CNN, NPR, A&E, the History Channel, Time, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Der Spiegel, and many other publications. He is a founder and board member of Dream Change and The Pachamama Alliance, nonprofits devoted to establishing a world our children will want to inherit. His new book, The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, can be found on Amazon.
It has been nearly twelve years since the release of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. People have wondered how the publication of that book has affected me and what I am doing to redeem myself and change the EHM system. They have also questioned what they themselves can do to help turn the system around. The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is my answer.
The following list is one of many provided in the new book. It is meant to stimulate you to come up with your own plan of action. Other lists include ones tailored to students, retired people, business executives, investors and consumers, and entrepreneurs. As you read the list below, please be sure to choose items that fit your passions, that raise your bliss factor, that bring joy into your life. Doing whatever it takes to birth the life economy must be fun. Of course, there will be times when you encounter obstacles and setbacks. See these as challenges that stir your creativity and offer opportunities to experience the joy of creating solutions. I hope you enjoy this short glimpse into chapter 47 of the book and the events that became my confessions.
I’d like say a special thanks to John Thurlbeck for his support of my new release and for his willingness to post this on his blog. I hope you’ll connect with me on Twitter and Facebook!
11 Things We All Can Do
- Keep telling a new story, one that is based on creating an environmentally sustainable, socially just world where one group of people does not make other groups of people desperate. This story is about cleaning up pollution and regarding our planet as a living being; helping starving people grow, store, and transport food more efficiently; living less materialistic and more spiritually fulfilling lives; developing new technologies for energy, transportation, communications, banking, and wholesale and retail trade; bringing diverse communities together with the understanding that we all live on a fragile space station that has no escape shuttles. In other words, tell the story of converting a death economy to a life economy. Spread this story, every chance you get, to as many people as you can. Talk; write blogs, books, or articles; make videos; do whatever it takes.
- Shop and invest consciously. Replace recreational and mindless shopping tendencies with activities that truly nourish you and those you love. Look first to your own locale to purchase goods and services, which reduces the carbon footprint of packaging and transporting your purchases, builds community, and supports your local economy. Buy goods and services from (and invest in) businesses that are committed to making a better world. No one is perfect, so seek out the ones that are doing the best in their field. E-mail them about the good things they are doing, encouraging them to get even better. Also e-mail the businesses that you avoid, telling them why you refuse to patronize them. Insist that any organizations, pensions, or other funds that you are part of do the same.
- Live consciously. Focus on doing things that enhance your relationship with other people, your immediate community, and the world around you, including finding and honoring nature in whatever form it comes to your locale. Break old patterns that revolve around materialism and buying “stuff”; driving cars when walking, bicycling, or public transportation is an alternative; or participating in recreational activities that use fossil fuels.
- Pick a cause that appeals to your deepest passions, and support it on a regular basis. This could be a corporation you want to change, such as Monsanto, Chevron, or Walmart; a movement or nonprofit or nongovernment organization that you want to support; or both. Give it your attention every day—in the form of time and energy (even if only for a few minutes) or money. Use social media to let all your friends know what you are doing. Craft e-mails and letters about your cause and distribute them frequently to your social media contacts, ask them to distribute these to all of their social media contacts, and so on.
- Become part of the living local community. Use local banks that invest in local projects, local merchants, locally owned restaurants; as much as possible, buy food that is locally and organically grown; use materials and goods that are local and/or environmentally and socially responsible; create community gardens and urban green spaces. Encourage everyone you know to do the same. Join or form groups or clubs that bring people together to have fun doing such things: bicycle clubs, nature clubs, book clubs, “change the world” clubs—be creative.
- Flood media outlets, corporate executives, and government officials with information about the need to move from a death economy to a life economy. Do this locally, nationally, or internationally—or all three.
- Support reform movements that most appeal to you. These will be country- and community-dependent activities to encourage geopolitical, economic, and social reforms. Demand such things as guaranteed living wages and/or employment, health insurance, medical care, and retirement pensions.
- Encourage the creation of local, national, and/or international parks, wildlife preserves, and other such areas. If you live in an urban setting or a run-down area, organize people to turn vacant lots into parks and playgrounds. Spend quality time in these places and encourage everyone you know to do the same.
- Fight for campaign finance reform and/or climate change regulations in the United States and elsewhere. Join organizations such as Move to Amend, the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, the Pachamama Alliance, or others that appeal to you.
- Avoid debt. Take positive actions to pay off credit card charges and other debt without incurring interest payments. Make a point of using cash whenever possible.
- Make heroes and icons of people who are working to create a better world. Honor the founders and managers of institutions and movements discussed in numbers 1 through 9 above, the visible and the behind-the-scenes people who create an environmentally sustainable, socially just world, who help starving people feed themselves, and who promote better business and living models—rather than the CEOs of irresponsible corporations, overpaid athletes, or celebrities.
During the 12 years since the publication of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, the world has changed radically. I am excited to share with you how economic hit men and jackal assassins have spread to the U.S. and the rest of the planet and what we all can do to stop them and to create a better world. The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is an expanded and updated edition that includes 15 explosive new chapters. It also provides detailed strategies each and every one of us can employ to avert the crises looming before us. To learn more please visit www.johnperkins.org, and join me in moving not just into ‘sustainability’ but also into ‘regenerating’ devastated environments.