I watched every episode of Happy Days. All 255. I loved the Fonz. Was he cool or what? One of my favourites was when Pinky Toscadero fell victim to the conspiring Malachi brothers who used radio technology to time her smash up derby demise. Did Fonzie save the day? Correctamundo. Watching the shark jump episode was like watching Pinkies car crash. I guess the show creators ran out of gold ideas.

I read John Perkins ‘Confessions of an economic hitman‘ many years ago. It remains one my favourite ever reads.

Perkins provides an account of his career with a Boston consulting firm. It was his job to convince leaders of underdeveloped countries to accept substantial development loans for large construction and engineering projects. That’s a good thing, right? Ensuring those projects were awarded to U.S. based companies provided complete control. A classic deal with the devil. Of course the leaders of the underdeveloped countries were well placed to understand the construct of the deal. Most were military tough guys who were unafraid of the cowboy Americans. Sure, I‘ll take your free money. I’ll cement my position of power by building roads, schools and hospitals. I don’t care about paying it back. I’ll be dead by then. I’ll let my successor worry about it.

The loan covenants and cost of the infrastructure projects is the old ‘Malachi Crunch‘. It is impossible to survive and, when the debt trap squeezes, the victim country taps out. The grand prize is the natural resources which, of course, are held as security. It is a basic corporate take over manoeuvre applied to a nation, it’s people and it’s assets.

Sound implausible? Couldn’t happen today? Read the book and decide for yourself.

I’m sending a copy to DapperDan. I hope he reads it before attempting a shark jump.

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