24 Greatest John Perkins Quotes

John Perkins spent more than a decade assisting the United States intelligence agencies and multinational corporations on achieving success through the awarding of lucrative contracts as a result of foreign policy initiatives. As an activist, Perkins founded Dream Change, dedicated to promoting sustainable lifestyles in a global environment. Here is a look at some of the best John Perkins quotes to remember.

“And in Iraq we tried to implement the same policy that was so successful in Saudi Arabia, but Saddam Hussein didn’t buy. When the economic hit men fail in this scenario, the next step is what we call the jackals.”

“Basically, what Economic Hit Men are trained to do is to build up the American empire. To create situations where as many resources as possible flow into this country, to our corporations, and our government, and in fact we’ve been very successful.”

“Education is not a luxury in modern American society-it is essential for survival.”

“Godly leadership is not about attaining recognition or glory; it’s about serving others.”

“Had Roosevelt been caught, we would have been in a lot of trouble. It would have been very embarrassing.”


“I have come to understand that life is composed of a series of coincidences. How we react to these – how we exercise what some refer to as free will – is everything; the choices we make within the boundaries of the twists of fate determine who we are.”

“I was initially recruited while I was in business school back in the late sixties by the National Security Agency, the nation’s largest and least understood spy organization; but ultimately I worked for private corporations.”

“I’ve never met anyone who wanted to be a terrorist. They are desperate people.”

“Justice goes across racial and economic barriers – like the good Samaritan.”

“No matter how many toys we amass we leave them behind when we die, just as we leave a broken environment, an economy that only benefits the richest, and a legacy of empowering greed over goodness. It is now time to commit to following a new path.”

“So we make this big loan, most of it comes back to the United States, the country is left with the debt plus lots of interest, and they basically become our servants, our slaves. It’s an empire. There’s no two ways about it. It’s a huge empire. It’s been extremely successful.”

“The big deal is we think the power is in us individually the power is in us collectively. It is in the church.”

“The choices we make within the boundaries of the twists of fate determines who we are”

“The only way that we’re going to feel secure in this country again and that we’re going to feel good about ourselves is if we use these systems we’ve put into place to create positive change around the world. I really believe we can do that.”

“The poor need the motivation, the incentives, the skills, the education so they can help themselves.”

“The United States spends over $87 billion conducting a war in Iraq while the United Nations estimates that for less than half that amount we could provide clean water, adequate diets, sanitation services and basic education to every person on the planet. And we wonder why terrorists attack us.”

“There is no reconciliation until you recognize the dignity of the other, until you see their view- you have to enter into the pain of the people. You’ve got to feel their need.”

“There’s no question in my mind that it was C.I.A. sanctioned, and most – many Latin American investigators have come to the same conclusion. Of course, we never heard about that in our country.”

“These were big ones. Those companies would then go in and build an electrical system or ports or highways, and these would basically serve just a few of the very wealthiest families in those countries.”

“This empire, unlike any other in the history of the world, has been built primarily through economic manipulation, through cheating, through fraud, through seducing people into our way of life, through the economic hit men. I was very much a part of that.”

“We live out our call most fully when we are a community of faith with arms wrapped about a community of pain.”

“We’ve built the largest empire in the history of the world. It’s been done over the last 50 years since World War II with very little military might, actually. It’s only in rare instances like Iraq where the military comes in as a last resort.”

“When the National Security Agency recruited me, they put me through a day of lie detector tests. They found out all my weaknesses and immediately seduced me. They used the strongest drugs in our culture, sex, power and money, to win me over.”

“You don’t give people dignity. You affirm it.”

John Perkins is an author and activist focused on enlightening society on the workings of the political and economic environment that is controlled by business contracts that serve the United States foreign policy. Check out the following interview where John Perkins discusses the premise of his book, ‘Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.’