First, Sterling grimly runs through all the various potential threats we face in 2009.
So 2009 will be a squalid year, a planetary hostage situation surpassing any mere financial crisis, where the invisible hand of the market, a good servant turned a homicidal master, periodically wanders through a miserable set of hand-tied, blindfolded, feebly struggling institutions, corporations, bureaucracies, professions, and academies, and briskly blows one’s brains out for no sane reason.
Then he runs through the opportunities we have:
We now come to the useful word “precarity,” which is part of the American lifestyle but distant from American politics. “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. […]
Normally Americans and Europeans fail to agree about “precarity”?—?Americans think their precarity is a kind of fluidity and dynamism, while Europeans are lazy featherbedders dawdling over two-hour lunches. But what’s certain is that, whatever its definition, precarity is now global. The wealthy and powerful?—?especially the wealthy and powerful?—?are precarious. They are being flung about like flotsam, and the precarity once reserved for blue-collar workers is now inside the corner office and the corporate boardroom as well.
I first came across the term precarity last year when I found The Tarots of Precariomancy. It perfectly describes the nature of work in the US today. I’ve come to see precarity as inevitable, but certainly it would be nice to be free of.