Confessions of an Economic Hit Man Characters

John Perkins
This Study Guide consists of approximately 28 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.
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John Perkins - Writer

John Perkins is the writer and narrator of the book. He was born into a modest family that believed themselves superior to the rest of the common people living in their town. John attended the Tilton school for boys, where he grows up sexually and morally frustrated. His parents never allow him to date any of the girls in his town because they are "sluts," and so he harbors his frustration and uses it to succeed. He excels in school and sports and is offered a scholarship to Brown, though he turns it down to go to Middlebury college because his father wanted him to go there instead. He makes an Iranian friend, who later turns out to save his life and then rebels against his parents by dropping out of school. He dodges the draft for Vietnam and goes into the Peace Corps, where he learns how to live in a developing country among native people. He then joins MAIN, who feasts off his personality traits. His desire to be extremely wealth and have any women he wants, causes him to ignore his gut feeling that something is wrong, and instead to excel, especially when things are not going well for him personally. These traits are essential for him to work as an EHM. He ignores his inner voice throughout his young adult life, loses his wife, meets both amazing and oppressive military and political leaders, travels the world and marries again before his conscience catches up to him, and he can no longer do the economic forecasting job he was hired to do. He admires heroes and secretly wants to be one, so he takes the step to go against the corporate empire and tries to be that hero by writing this book to reveal the truth about the work he was involved in as an EMH.

Farhad

Farhad is John's Iranian friend that he meets at Middlebury college. He is the son of an Iranian general, who is directly linked with the Shah. Farhad is a very important figure in John's life. They befriend each other while attending Middlebury college and both got into trouble. Farhad encourages John to rebel against his parents and stop going to classes and purposely failing. When the two get into a barfight, Farhad is kicked out of school, and John quits, moving to Boston, where he meets his first wife and makes his initial connections to become and EHM. Many years down the road, he encounters Farhad in Iran. Farhad convinces him to leave the country, and they meet with Farhad's parents in Rome where Farhad's father teaches John new things about the world he is altering.

Father and Mother

John's father is a retired military man and teacher at the Tilton school. His mother is also a teacher at the school. They teach John that he is superior to other people in the town, even though he neither feels it, nor sees it in comparison to the other boys at the school. His father is very adamant that he go to Tilton school and both he and John's mother get him accepted. They are both portrayed as snobby people, who believe they are better than most. They even believed that their college, Middlebury, was better than any Ivy League school and convince John to turn down a full sports scholarship to Brown to attend Middlebury.

Ann

Ann is John's first wife. Though friends at first, she convinces him to marry her after moving to Boston. She introduces her to her Uncle Frank, who works for the NSA. They stay married for a few short years, then later divorce when his work consumes him, and he accuses her of forcing him into marriage.

Uncle Frank

Ann's Uncle works for the NSA and encourages John to join the Peace Corps to dodge the draft. He gets the ball rolling for John's EHM career, possibly by sending his NSA profile to private contractors such as MAIN.

Claudine

Claudine is the EHM who trains John. She is very attractive and seductive and knows how to play and work John. He is upset that a woman was sent to train him, but this was probably done deliberately to make sure that he would be trained correctly. She taught him all about being anEHM and was very stern about never revealing their secrets, since she would just deny them anyways. She gets into John's head, and he never forgets how lonely he feels whenever he thinks about her.

Einar

Vice President to MAIN when John was working with the Peace Corps. Einar had flown into Ecuador for a project and to size John up for the company. Einar was John's primary point of contact with MAIN and hired him as an economist immediately after he was finished with the Peace Corps.

Howard Parker

Howard is a man that John meets on his first trip to Indonesia. He is the electricity specialist and was hired to forecast the growth that would take place after implementing a new power system in Indonesia. He is an honest man, and doesn't even try to fudge the numbers the way MAIN wants him to. He quits and tells John that it isn't too late for him to get out, too. Howard tells John that everyone in MAIN is just out to make money, regardless of the lives they are hurting by indebting nations. He is the only honest man that John ever meets in his line of work and the only one bold enough to stand up against MAIN.

Charlie Illingworth

Charlie was the project manager for the Indonesia project and believed MAIN was there to secure Indonesia against Communism. He was an expert on war and war history.

Rasmon - Rasy

Rasy is a young Indonesian man that John meets in a hotel. Rasy takes John under his wing and teaches him more about Indonesia than any of the officials can. He takes him to parts of the country that no other American would dare to go, mostly because they never leave the posh hotels.

Omar Torrijos

Omar Torrijos was the charismatic and compassionate president of Panama. He stood for the rights of his people and wanted the world to know that while he was pro-Panama, he was not anti-American—he simply wanted to make sure that Panama remained a sovereign nation, and that he could help the poor and oppressed of his nation rise up and be prosperous people. He was a controversial leader only because he wanted to gain control of the Panama Canal, which was rightfully Panama's, but controlled by the U.S. He also didn't allow the School of the Americas or other right-wing military training grounds to be housed in his country. He wanted to help the poor as much as he could. He stood for moral justice and was a role model for leaders around the world. He was killed in a plane crash in what many believe was a CIA operation.

Fidel

Fidel was John's driver in Panama. He takes John to the slums of the city, as well as the New Panama and the Canal Zone which is owned by the U.S. He gives John an insider's tour of the city.

Bruno Zambotti

Known as the silver fox because of his hair and his ability to outmaneuver anyone who challenged him, he was John's mentor and the vice president of MAIN's electrical power division and of most of the international projects. He was also likely to take over as president of the company but was fired when the president of MAIN got jealous that Bruno was doing better for MAIN than he was.

Graham Greene

Author of The Power and the Glory, Our Man in Havana, and an article titled The Country with Five Frontiers about how the U.S. might bribe Panama's military chiefs to sabotage treaty negotiations of the Panama Canal. He was close to President Torrijos and was writing a book about Panama. He encouraged John to write a book himself, a coincidence that changed John's life.

Yamin

An Iranian, educated in the British school system, described as a famous and subversive radical.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

A fanatical Shiite who was urging Iranians to rise against the Shah to create a clerical state in Iran.

Jaime Roldos

This was the beloved leader of Ecuador who fought for the rights of his people, much like Omar Torrijos. He was democratically elected based on his opposition to the large oil companies and the desire to implement a hydrocarbons policy that would generate funds for social justice. He was killed in a plane crash just before Torrijos and it is suspected it was set up by the American CIA. Omar Torrijos called him a hero and his brother.

Paula

A Venezuelan woman who helps John listen to his conscience. She helps him see that what he is doing is wrong and gives him insight as to what the rest of the world sees and feels about the corporatocracy.

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(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
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