The Supply & Demand of Street Alchemists
Street alchemists were part quack, part con artist.
They existed all throughout the Renaissance.
And I believe street alchemists still exist today, but in other forms; in other industries.
Modern alchemists are embedded in the public sphere via the arts, politics, and science.
The dictionary defines an alchemist as "a person who transforms or creates something through a seemingly magical process."
A true alchemist studied the magical arts for self perfection, or to benefit the greater good.
I would go a bit further and say they also served a dual purpose of being a visual metaphor for the natural process Wallace D. Wattles calls "increase of life."
So an alchemist is able to transform / create something through a seemingly magical process, while serving as a cultural model for the human need for fuller expression.
Street alchemists, on the other hand, practiced an illusion of the magical arts for the purposes of strict financial gain. They rode on the general trends. They preyed on human psychology.
In other words: MORE, MORE, MORE, MORE!
Sourced from Charles Mackey's "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" - I present to you: the two consumer markets best tailored for the alchemical racket ::
BEAUTY is the attraction for women.
HEALTH & STRENGTH is the attraction for men.
And MONEY is the attraction for all.
Offer this for free to the poor & suffering, and sell it at a high price to the rich - and you'll be a successful modern street alchemist. The rich will be struck with admiration of your charity and benevolence, and impress with a full conviction of your marvelous powers.