NO MONEY DOWN: Rushkoff on the rigged credit system

by Douglas Rushkoff

from Arthur Magazine No. 31, Oct 2008

I poked my head up from writing my book a couple of months ago to engage with Arthur readers about the subject I was working on: the credit crunch and what to do about it [see “Riding Out the Credit Crisis” in Arthur No. 29/May 2008]. I got more email about that piece than anything I have written since a column threatening to defect from the Mac community back in the Quadra days.

Many readers thought I was hinting at something under the surface—a conspiracy, of sorts, to take money from the poor and give it to the rich. It sounded to many like I was describing an economic system actually designed—planned—to redistribute income in the worst possible ways.

I guess I’d have to agree with that premise. Only it’s not a secret conspiracy. It’s an overt one, and playing out in full view of anyone who has time (time is money, after all) to observe it.

The mortgage and credit crisis wasn’t merely predictable; it was predicted. And not by a market bear or conspiracy theorist, but by the people and institutions responsible. The record number of foreclosures, credit defaults, and, now, institutional collapses is not the result of the churn of random market forces, but rather a series of highly lobbied changes to law, highly promoted ideologies of wealth and home ownership, and monetary policies highly biased toward corporate greed.


It all started to make sense to me when I attended Learning Annex’s Wealth Expo earlier this year—a seminar where teachers of The Secret, the hosts of Flip This House, George Foreman, Tony Robbins and former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan [pictured above in banner from Learning Annex website] purportedly taught the thousands in attendance how to take advantage of the current foreclosure boom.

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ERIK DAVIS "Visionary Hollywood" tour this Saturday

“On Saturday, October 4, Esotouric, the eclectic bus adventure company whose tours reveal L.A.’s secret history, returns with a second edition of VISIONARY HOLLYWOOD, the sold out tour which debuted in June, hosted by San Francisco-based writer [and Arthur columnist] Erik Davis and inspired by his acclaimed 2006 book “The Visionary State.”

“On this journey of exploration through the mystic realms of Los Angeles, passengers will join Erik on a guided tour of five extraordinary religious sites, meet followers of their respective faiths and explore the fascinating history of alternative religious practice in Southern California.


WHAT: “Visionary Hollywood” bus tour of historic spiritual sites
WHEN: Saturday October 4, 11am-3:30pm, departs from Bodhi Tree
Bookstore in West Hollywood
COST: $64/person, snacks included
MORE INFO: visit or call 323-223-2767

The tour departs from Bodhi Tree Bookstore in West Hollywood and includes visits to five extraordinary destinations:

THE AETHERIUS SOCIETY, a center for cosmic consciousness and healing founded in 1955 by UFO contactee Dr. George King, where guests will hear actual recordings of an extraterrestrial voice conveying significant messages. KROTONA APARTMENTS, a former Theosophical retreat founded in 1914, where guests will have a rare opportunity to visit the central courtyard and view the Rosicrucian window of this now-private residence. SISTER AIMEE SEMPLE MCPHERSON’S PARSONAGE, the beautifully restored private home and museum to the life of the influential and charismatic founder of the Foursquare Church on the edge of Echo Park. THE PHILOSOPHICAL RESEARCH SOCIETY, founded in 1934 as a non-denominational repository for the wisdom of the world, where guests will be guided by librarian, lecturer and author Maja D’Aoust through the Society’s remarkable library. THE VEDANTA SOCIETY OF
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, founded in 1930 to bring sacred Hindu philosophy to the West, where guests will be given a presentation on the Society’s history and programming, and browse in its fine gift shop.

Tour cost includes snacks and beverages served at The Aetherius Society and a seat on a luxury coach class bus equipped with monitors, air conditioning and restroom.

The post tour book signing at Bodhi Tree includes host Erik Davis, Maja D’Aoust (Philosophical Research Society librarian and author of “The Secret Source”) and Louis Sahagun (author of “Master of the Mysteries,” a new biography of PRS founder Manly P. Hall).

ABOUT THE HOST: Erik Davis is a San Francisco-based writer, culture critic, and independent scholar. He is the author of “TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information,” as well as a short critical volume on “Led Zeppelin IV.” Davis writes the “Analog Life” column for Arthur and contributes to scores of other magazines. His profile of Joanna Newsom in Arthur No. 25 was selected for inclusion in the “Best Music Writing 2007” collection from Da Capo. He won a Maggie award for his “San Francisco Magazine” profile of the Internet entrepreneur and UFO contactee Joe Firmage, while “The New Yorker” has recognized his expertise in the works of the science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. He lectures frequently on topics ranging from electronic music to the evolution of consciousness.

For more information about Erik Davis, visit
For more on The Visionary State, visit



(words and music by Julian Cope, from “Black Sheep” LP [2008])

I am the black sheep of my flock,
I stand alone at field’s edge.
Out here my waking hours I spend,
Chewing a hole in the hedge.
I am the outcast of this flock.
When you are gathered together,
I spend my days tied up by a rope,
Seeking an end to my tether.

Our gathering seems at their most content,
When master punishes me.
For in my difference I do remind them,
Too often of their apathy.
If you’re a white sheep, blessed are you,
And run adoring to your master.
You taste the lush green grass that fattens your lambs,
Although for them it spells disaster.

To rally every black sheep is my goal,
In Visions, I see them all lamenting,
Across the world where’er a black sheep runs,
Still, plans of freedom I’m fomenting.
I am the black sheep of this flock
And I can answer to no one.
I see you are the black sheep of your flock, too,
Methinks it takes one to know one.

Monday evening music: THE FUGS (from "Chappaqua")

“Chappaqua (1966) was written and directed by Conrad Rooks and is the semi-autobiographical account of his attempt to pull himself up out of a pit of drug/alcohol addiction. The film includes appearances by counter-cultural icons Allen Ginsburg and William S. Burroughs and musical performances by The Fugs, Ravi Shankar and Ornette Coleman. At the end of this scene featuring The Fugs, that is Conrad Brooks rolling around amidst the crushed sugar cubes. ”

courtesy R. Pleuger!