The Covid-19 pandemic should be a rallying call to change an economic system that spends billions each year on the tools of war but can’t produce a decent healthcare system, bestselling author John Perkins told RT.

Perkins is best known for his book ‘Confessions of an Economic Hit Man,’ in which he describes how American corporate elites plunder other nations to enrich themselves.

The economic system that puts immediate gains above all else, which Perkins calls an “economy of death” may be as lethal to common Americans as to people in Latin America or Eastern Asia, he said in an interview with RT Spanish. One only needs to look at the death toll of the Covid-19 epidemic in the US to see the proof.

“Our annual military budget is something between $600 billion and $700 billion. But we’ve just spent about $3 trillion to fight coronavirus. If we had spent half of that military budget over the last 10 years creating a better healthcare system in this country, we would all be better off now. The world would be better off,” he said.

The big flaw of the current arrangement is that corporations don’t suffer financially for inflicting long-term damage.

“In a way, it boils down to the driving force behind the ‘death economy,’ which is to maximize the short-term profits regardless of social or environmental costs,” Perkins said.

Changing the equation would require a shift in public policy that would incentivize investment in projects with long-term public benefits. Unfortunately, the US government’s priorities are pretty far from that goal, judging by the bloated defense budget, the author believes.

“Fifty-four percent of my taxpayer dollars in the discretionary budget in the US go to the military industry. You know, to kill people, basically,” he said. “Imagine if that money or some large portion of that money was instead paid [to improve the lives of people].

We could pay Raytheon and Boston Dynamics that currently make missiles to instead create processes for mining all the plastic in the ocean!

The coronavirus death toll is just one of many examples of how the same people who bend weaker governments to their wills with conditional loans, corrupt deals and occasionally orchestrated coups hurt the American public, Perkins told Rafael Correa, the former president of Ecuador, who hosts his own show on RT.

“The economic hitmen system that started by us exploiting other countries… has now spread around the world and came back to hurt ourselves,” he said. “It’s an extremely effective systems of using death and fear. Either the fear of being killed in case of a [foreign] president, or the fear of having debt for the rest of your life in the case of students in the United States.”

Climate change, income inequality, terrorism, extinction of species – all of these things “are symptoms of a global economic system that is not working,” Perkins said.

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