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The Blood Bankers: Tales from the Global Underground Economy Paperback – 9 Jun 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Thunder's Mouth Press; Reprint edition (9 Jun. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560257156
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560257158
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 14.6 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 168,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

An attorney, former chief economist for McKinsey & Co., and vice president for strategy for IBM/Lotus, James S. Henry is also an investigative journalist who has written for many publications, including The New Republic, New York Times, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, and many other magazines and newspapers. One of the original "Nader Raiders," he is founder and managing director of the Sag Harbor Group (, a strategy consulting firm with a special focus on technology strategy and business development. He has managed projects on a wide variety of competitive strategy issues for many global companies, including AT&T, GE, GM, IBM/ Lotus, Merrill Lynch, and the Samsung Group. He also serves as an advisor and board member of, a nonprofit that focuses on bringing the benefits of e-commerce to developing countries, and an advisor to Ashoka, a "reverse Peace Corps" that sponsors more than 1500 fellows working on social and environmental issues in 30 developing countries. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, a member of the New York Bar, and received a master's degree in economics from the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

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"One major piece of the puzzle about where all the money loaned to developing countries went, in addition to capital flight, involved wasteful projects." Read the first page
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By Jermaine on 25 April 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good quality.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 18 reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
The hidden truth of third world debt 25 Feb. 2004
By R. J. C. Roeber - Published on
Format: Hardcover
We have heard much about the crisis of third world debt and what to do about it from liberal ("forgive the debt") and right-wing ("bankrupt the suckers") commentators. James Henry asks a more fundamental question, where did the money go? Why is there so little to show for the more than $2.7 trillion of debt, aid, and investment made available to the developing world since the 1970s? One answer is that it was not spent but stolen and wasted, maybe as little as one-third of it ending up on the ground. Much of the rest has gone to provide the political elites of recipient countries with retirement homes in pleasant places.
Henry, a lawyer and economist by training and an investigative journalist by avocation, has been working on this story since the late 1980s. He travelled to more than 50 countries in pursuit of it and his book contains original, first-hand accounts of decades of unscrupulous financial behavior in the Philippines, Brazil, Nicaragua, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Mexico.
What started off as an economist's enquiry into the paradox of third world debt has ended up as an indictment of the first world corporations that helped to create it. Henry tells how many of the world's leading banks and financial groups have, often with the complicity of their governments and supranational institutions, created and fuelled the new high-growth global markets for dirty debt, capital flight, money laundering, tax evasion, corruption, illicit weapons traffic, and other new transnational forms of dubious economic activity.
This is an essential book. Corruption is the scandal of third world debt. Attempts to relieve it must include the means to prevent its happening again.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Really interesting new material about Latin America, ME 2 Jan. 2004
By RClark - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I'm a Latin American scholar. Henry's well-written book manages to get below the surface, and deliver some amazing new revelations about Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, in particular. I was also interested to find out exactly where Paraguay's General Stroessner, the Phillipines' Marcos, Pakistan's Bhutto, Zaire's Mobutu, and quite a few other Third World thugs kept their foreign loot -- and not only in Switzerland! Not easy reading, but it will definitely change your perspective on the global economy....
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Development Economics To The Next Level 20 May 2005
By Matt Clifford - Published on
Format: Hardcover
"The Blood Bankers" is an important contribution to our understanding of global financial instability. Most often, liberalized (legitimate) capital markets, international trade, state power, and international regulatory institutions are cited as the causes of destabilization. However, J. Henry allows us to look behind these forces and bodies to see how the liberalization of the global economy has unleashed illicit and/ or immoral financial forces, often acting through otherwise legitimate enterprises. Thus, "The Blood Bankers" gives us another level of understanding and critique of the agents of globalization. Without understanding the underground players, it would be impossible to fully understand the instability of modern international markets.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Long journey start with a firt step 24 May 2004
By mo wechsler - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Blood Bankers sets out to answer the question, "What has happened that over the last 30 years the industrialized countries of the world have loaned $3 trillion ($3,000,000,000,000) -ostensibly for the benefit of the underdeveloped countries of the world- and, without question, the latter are substantially worse off than they were 30 years ago?" Very often the effects that he reports are not marginal failures, but catastrophic results, that he rigorously illustrates in the book. Worse, the failures are not a collection of accidents, scattered ethical failures, or the like.
Jim's book is a treasure of facts and speculative plots for any citizen of the world seriously concerned with exploring and then grounding his or her ethical claims for a different global convivencia - way of being together and engaging with the others in our daily lives-. The book brings, through a rich and engaging set of well-researched stories, a context for understanding the role played by a system of major institutions in crafting the failures and financial scandals that often appear as scattered and disconnected news in the media. He draws a clear picture of a sustained pattern of behaviors, practices, interpretations, institutionalized systems and ways of thinking and working that are embedded in worldwide economic institutions, investment banks, governments, the great construction companies of the world, major equipments vendors, that create exactly the right situation for growing the behaviors that bring and sustain these results.
The book portrait the global machinery of nihilism were a dollar from dictator or a dollar from a legitimate president, a dollar from a organ trafficker or a dollar from a religious order, a dollar from the right or the left worth the same, and share the very same benefit of being tax free, secretly concealed, flying capital. The book shows the extent of a pervasive criminal side in America's claim of decency, fair practices, and humanitarian generosity - a kind of decency that is indecent and needs to be reinvented-
Henry's voice seams to collide with some main stream voices. April 2004 HBR call in its front-page "Play to Win" through "hardball" strategies -G.Stalk, R.Lachenauer-. One of the five strategies -that in synthesis seams to be a call for a more predatory style- said " The hardball player venture closer to the boundary, whether establish by law or social conventions, than competitors will ever dare (...) Keep in mind, though, that a legal standard is often less than crystal clear. By aggressively pushing the limits of existing regulations, a hardball player can sometimes win tremendous competitive advantages." How we could bring business decency out of this business ethic?, What is missing in the stablished design of the game?
In calling for change in the way this machinery works, Jim defines the scope of a global task that is of the first order, and ultimately, unavoidable. This is a very bold piece of research denied by meanstream media and major political debates.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
The Blood Bankers Made Me See Red 18 Dec. 2003
By christine andrews - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The Blood Bankers:Tales from the Global Underground Economy is a non-fiction financial thriller/whodunit that illuminates the sordid, self-serving, elitist international money trail and the greedy creatures who travel shamelessly on it. Mr. Henry courageously lifts the veil of monetary indecency and carefully guarded fiscal secrecy as he takes the reader on an insider's guided tour of global corruption and greed. Truth is indeed, stranger than fiction and The Blood Bankers is a shocking account of unbridled greed, run wild in plain sight around the world. It features a virtual perp walk of duplicitous international bankers, beyond-corrupt politicans and heads of state, and a whole supporting cast of money launderers, corporate con men and underworld predators. If you're ready to lose your intellectual virginity, read this book. The world will never look the same.
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