NO MONEY DOWN: Rushkoff on the rigged credit system

NO MONEY DOWN
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.

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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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IT BEARS REPEATING: Rushkoff on the credit crisis (Arthur Magazine, May 2008)

“Riding Out the Credit Crisis” by Douglas Rushkoff

from Arthur Magazine No. 29/May 2008

There’s two kinds of people asking me about the economy lately: people with money wanting to know how to keep it “safe,” and people without money, wanting to know how to keep safe, themselves.

Maybe it’s the difference between those two concerns that best explains the underlying nature of today’s fiscal crisis.

Is what’s going on in the economy right now really worse than anything that’s happened in the past few decades? Are we heading towards a bank collapse like what happened in 1929? Or something even worse?

On a certain level, none of these questions really matter. Not as they’re being phrased, anyway. What we think of as “the economy” today isn’t real, it’s virtual. It’s a speculative marketplace that has very little to do with getting real things to the people who need them, and much more to do with providing ways for passive investors to grow their capital.

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