Poor Us: The Great Depression 2.0

March 10, 2009

Precarity: The Art of Living Dangerously Close to the Edge

Filed under: Uncategorized, Wise up — Tags: , , , — debacled @ 10:46 pm

The news is bad: “In addition to the 651,000 lost jobs in February, the government increased its estimate of the number of jobs lost in January to 655,000 (up from 598,000), while December’s was bumped to 681,000 (up from 577,000),” the Dallas News reported Friday. “It’s the highest national unemployment rate since December 1983. The number of job losses in February was the highest for one month since October 1949 – except, of course, for December 2008 and January 2009.”

And it’s making us stupid(er)–although given the self-inflicted lameness of our plight, it’s almost impossible to imagine we’ll be dumber still before this is all over, but that’s the Dallas interpretation:

“People who concentrate on all the news work themselves up emotionally and become much, much more likely to make unwise decisions” like selling investments at a big loss, said Daniel Howard, a marketing professor and consumer behavior specialist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.”

What’s clearly needed is an alternative method for finding answer to our pressing questions such as this a new age take on the Old World tradition Tarocchi di Precariomanzia or the Tarot of the Precaromancy.  Produced in Italy for May Day 2007,  the cards were designed to address the precarious situation the working man finds himself in these days. “We are precarious because our choices are limited by the blackmail of the companies, coming by the day with new and surprising shapes: the housing issue, the income lack, the job torture, the self-awareness of our body and soul, our educational system, the possibility to learn and share knowledges and technologies,” the precaria.org authors explain. “The precarity tarots are a symbol to be interpreted so as to read the reality around us. They do not think they can actually foretell the future. The 22 Major Arcana represent desires, ambitions, or needs of our present, of our past, or our future.”

XV The Bank

The Bank is money. The world lives by exchanges, and to have money to exchange for goods, you must work. Food, the Estate, the present for one’s daughter, everything is touched by the hands, the moods and the sympathies of the Bank. It is the necessary evil one has to come to terms with to survive and struggle. It stands for the interested help, for the lack of scruples, for the price of everything, for that which one has to give up in order to be able to get, with no certainty of what one will be able to get at all. The Bank could profit from the fall of the Towers and squeeze money out of the Intern. It is a negative tarot, even if some other tarot could lessen its ill portent. Opening the game, the Bank stands for an initial disadvantage and a bank account below zero. Closing the game stands for the debt with one’s destiny.

For more on the notion of precarity, read Bruce Sterling’s The True 21st Century Begins: “Precarity is, of course, the condition of existing precariously. The condition of losing one’s safety and security, of losing predictability and the ability to rationally plan ahead, the condition of being humiliated and in danger.”

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