Reviewing a Game as Old as Empire

A Game as Old as Empire builds on Confessions of an Economic Hitman. Edited by Stephen Hiatt, A Game as Old as Empire is a collection of essays by people who are confessing their participation in the abuse of people around the world committed by governments and corporations working together.

Over a decade old, some of the data presented in A Game as Old as Empire is no longer accurate. Some of the programs described have been changed or deleted. But the book is a critical contribution to our understanding of the ways governments, especially the United States, abuse and exploit people at the behest of multinational corporations.

A Game as Old as Empire covers many topics I would have expected to find: tax evasion; corruption and failure at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund; Western governments knowingly destroying livelihoods, the environment, and even lives of people in developing countries so corporations can profit; and more. But the first-hand accounts of the abuse, exploitation, and corruption paint a more disturbing picture than I anticipated.

Some of the stories, most notably the one about the Bank of Credit and Commerce scandal, were new to me. The Bank of Commerce and Credit story stood out to me because it shows how both parties are often part of the same corruption. That scandal had everything that makes you hate government and politicians:

  • The CIA got away with lying to Congress.
  • Some of those participating in the lies later worked in Democratic and Republican administrations.
  • The Justice Department knowingly failed to investigate crimes that were politically inconvenient.
  • Members of both parties took bribes.
  • Congress never acted on most of its recommendations developed in response to the scandal.

Reading a Game as Old as Empire will leave you feeling angry and dirty. But if you want to learn more about the widespread corruption and exploitation perpetrated by government and corporations, it’s a truly tremendous book.

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