Relations between Risk, Uncertainty, Precarity and Creativity

December 12th, 2012

As recently as 2007 the Department for Culture, Media and Sport determined that the creative and cultural industries were among the fastest growing sectors in the UK economy and together were comparable in size to that of Financial Services.  As its Secretary of State, Tessa Jowell (The Work Foundation, p.6) was outspoken in her assertion that the Labour Government should “create a framework in which these sectors can flourish”.  The Work Foundation’s policy analysis, which would inform the mapping document for her Creative Economy Programme in 2005, lauded these industries for their economic value.  By the next year, 2008, an unprecedented global, financial crisis would coin the term “credit crunch” and usher in an era of uncertainty, precarity and severe risk management, but would also lead to a reactionary change of political regime.  Ms. Jowell may not have realised how prophetic was her assertion, but it seems obvious that the creative industries, and in fact creative industry itself, are now not only an asset for the economy, but a day to day necessity.  The present situation is not a thorough precedent, however, and humanity’s acumen for improvising its way through crisis and disaster is legion (Sennett, 1998).  There is such profound connection, overlap and progression between these four concepts – Risk, Uncertainty, Precarity and Creativity – as to qualify them as part of an acute and empirical process of transformation, whether in the field of art or science, or as a fundamental component of the human experience, singularly or collectively.  

According to the Oxford Dictionary, ‘Risk’ involves exposure to danger and threat to sustainability.  ‘Creativity’ is defined by originality and its power toward progress, according to Random House Dictionary Online, so could be considered the denouement of an effective risk strategy, perhaps when dangerous exposure creates uncertainty.  It is certainly a key ingredient to the process of innovation.  Wikipedia qualifies Precarity as a state of unpredictability, especially in terms of material or psychological insecurity.  However, it further focuses ‘Precarity’ as specific to employment and existence in a contemporary context.  It seems that ‘Uncertainty’ is a more general term and could be considered a common denominator of the other three. Defined by, ‘Uncertainty’ is shaped by the unknown  and provides the freedom to make creative decisions.  It would thus pave the way toward opportunity and innovation.  Conversely, ‘uncertainty’ could be invested with a more negative
connotation denoting distrust or doubt, according to Merriam Webster’s definition.  A worthy construct might situate ‘Risk’ at the beginning of a process, mitigated by ‘Precarity’ with a through line of ‘Uncertainty’ leading to a process of ‘Creativity’, made manifest by invention or innovation.

In The Brave New World of Work (2000), Ulrich Beck describes risk in terms of the ‘second modernity’, whereby globalisation and individualisation blurred the boundaries of post-Nationalised work society in Europe: the post-WWII ‘first modernity’.  This development led to new forms of work, politics & lifestyles.  His “Risk Regime” (2000, pgs 67-91) of the second modernity is governed by a plurality of individualisation.  Its only certainty is non-recovery of the ‘first modernity’.  In mentioning “The political economy of insecurity, uncertainty and loss of boundaries….” (2000, p.73), Beck refers to Globalisation and suggests a precarity or a precarious functionality.  Beck asserts that the creative flow of Globalisation’s precarity innovated the ‘translocal’ organisation, whereby locally sourced production companies were elevated to global mobility through networking, which was enabled by information technologies.  So, a ‘Risk Regime’ maintained an irreversible yet movement toward Globalisation, and a system of precarity was established, which rearranged old Fordist traditions of standardised production and consumption, to create a workscape liberated from time and space.

Beck asserts that risk was the unspoken and entirely necessary operating principle of the second modernity, because it exposed and dismantled the inherent hypocrisies of the first modernity.  Such hypocrisies would include the suppression of the human spirit, as prophesised by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations, 1793, the in-built sexism within the social contract’s culture of work and ecological meltdown in its means of production.  He attributes at least part of the chaotic force of Neo-liberalisation to the widespread accessibility of education made available by the social contract.  1970s expansion of that accessibility fomented an internalisation of political and social rights which would cultivate a collective confidence, inspiring a generation of individuals to reinvent themselves at risk of uncertainty or even social exclusion for respective control of one’s life. Outsourcing of previously nationalised industry may have cultivated uncertainty in work culture.  However, it would also create opportunity for the educated, evolved and self motivated citizen of the world to globalise his or her respective enterprise, by shadowing the larger players that were putting their products and branding up for sale, or franchising, internationally. It was a situationist confluence of internalised self-determination, mobilised by neo-liberalism to actualise a labour force of individuals, who became bosses of their own businesses yet were “ideal collaborators” (Peter Fischer, 1995, cited by Beck, 2000, pg 54).  It could otherwise be understood as a precarious situation which would alchemise creation of an uncertain new culture of work.

In the context of this developing and levelling dynamic, Beck also highlights the integral connection between the crises of ecology and justice :  there is no equal opportunity within a climate of  environmental breakdown and global apartheid. To paraphrase, the precarity of the second modernity was dormant within the first.  Beck (2000, pgs 67-75) explains how the Risk Regime compelled definitive choices against a backdrop of uncertainty which became manifest via Globalization, Ecologization, Digitalization and the Politicization of Work.  Yet, it also begged the question of what would happen to the ‘Fordist diamond’ (Porter, 1990, cited by Beck, 2000, pg 51) of German capitalism, for example, with it’s protectionist politics and civic culture .  Globalist Individualisation would threaten to dismantle its “elevator effect for all layers of society” (Westphal, 1998, cited by Beck, 2000, pg 52) as a result of uncertainties about lifestyle, made manifest in a polarised social caste system catalysed by Neo-liberalisation.  The precarious possibilities of the second modernity were inspiring and frightening all at once.  Hope and disintegration became rationalised within the same construct:  a culture of “both/and” rather than “either/or” (2000, p54).  Beck offers that on one side of the ‘risk regime’ is wild freedom, but on the other side is the annihilation of human civilisation, the latter possibility especially pertinent when considered in the context of the murky dealings of transnational capital flow, as evidenced by South East Asian ‘Tiger Economies’ in the 1980s.

Whilst Ulrich Beck attributes the transition from first to second modernity as a sort of clarification process or balancing act within European sociopolitical evolution, former CIA consultant Chalmers Johnson (2006) outlines a more sinister agenda for Neo-liberalisation in the context of American militarization in his book, The Sorrows of Empire:  Militarism, Secrecy and the End of the Republic (2006).  He confronts Globalisation’s irreversible risk culture as a regime of “deliberate aggression” (2006, pg.255) by developed nations to allow them economic access to the various resources of other countries in order to preserve their own power base, globally, especially targeting Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific and other ‘third world’ regions.  Johnson ascribes an element of deception, masking militarization or American hegemonial expansion, to the uncertainty of neo-liberalisation policies.  He also qualifies that this dynamic is archetypical: “History tells us that an expansive nation must at least attempt to disguise what it is doing to consolidate its gains” (2006, p. 255).  The General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT); established in 1947 to circumvent Nationalist-based collapse of international trade which had already paved the way to the Great Depression, Totalitarianism and World War II; would transmogrify into two institutions:  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and The World Trade Organisation (WTO). International trade would expand from $124 billion to $10,772 billion by 1995.  However by the 1970s, at approximate midpoint of this rise, the US and UK had succumbed to ‘Stagflation’- oil crises, racial strife, unemployment, and in America, backlash from the Vietnam War. Global operations could not mask the inherent instability – read uncertainty – from Stagflation’s attendant deficit in America.  Yet, the US soon became an international emergency money lender to economies which were collapsing.  This construct rendered IMF and the World Bank obsolete, yet they were never actually dissolved.  The  international community and respective markets were lulled into a false sense of security, entrapped by risk.  Random economic patch ups became the norm, the US could not cover the costs of imports and President Nixon was forced to convert internationally fixed  and predictable exchange rates to floating and thus fluctuating ones, which catalysed a high risk market, shaped by open and wild speculation:  essentially global gambling.  By the 1980s the US made irresponsible loans to several countries and a comprehensive collapse of economies ensued in Africa and Latin America.  Uncertainty reined.  To aggravate matters, Japan became the most affluent creditor in the world and the US the world’s largest debtor.  Unpredictably, Japan had lost the war and won the peace   Chalmers qualifies that this risky situation – for the US – was the central motivation for the precarious measures which would follow, whereby ‘developed’ nations, fronted by Reagan and Thatcher, imposed Neo-liberal economic templates on ‘developing’ nations in the guise of ‘Structural adjustment’.  Neo-liberalism opened respective, state owned enterprises to various foreign investors.  Debt payments were financed by loans, contingent upon socio-economic restructure and modelled on fantasist strategy with no precedent of success.  Structural adjustment was, in fact, diametrically opposed to the protectionist policies which created world powers such as US, UK and South Korea. The IMF and World Bank became reinstated as collections agents, which prompted a system of widespread economic collapse and revolving door speculation.  By the 1990s the US recovered it’s economic alpha status globally whilst its Department of Commerce crossed over to international politicking.  This precarity was further enforced by the threat of uncertainty that non compliance could subject debtor nations to the fate of Chile, targets of a CIA backed coup, which enabled a violent and hostile takover of Salvador Allende’s democratic government by Pinochet in 1973.  The US, enabled by other “developed” nations, created a multiple risk regime and capitalised on uncertainty through the precarity of hypocrisy and deception.

Chalmers Johnson quotes from Oswaldo De Rivero’s book, The Myth of Development:  The Non-Viable Economies of the 21st Century, to describe the rivalry between America and The Soviet Union as they battled it out for neo-liberalised global domination:  the “Ideological war between Capitalism and Communism…. was a civil war between two extreme viewpoints of the same Western ideology”  (De Rivero, 2001, cited by Johnson, p.261):  material prosperity promised by the triumph of the Industrial Revolution.  Soviet development manifested shortages and lack of freedom, US Neo-liberalism delivered unemployment and Social Exclusion.  This situation demonstrates the converse to Ulrich Beck’s rationalised duality of precarity, whereby a culture of “both/and” reverts to “either/or” The collapse of the USSR seemed imminent as part of a domino effect, but also because its rigid economics suppressed entrepreneurship and drove it underground before collapse.  In true precarious fashion, within a culture of risk, the black market emerged as the ruling power of the emergent post Soviet Russia.

Globalization, from the standpoint of American militarization, was an attempt for “developed” nations to use Neo-Liberalisation as a risk strategy, attempting to create success for themselves, but was actually an exercise in destruction, creativity’s opposite, from which global civilisation continues to reel.  Its operative precarity was a self-perpetuating infinite loop of greed and hypocrisy which escalated risk and has not yet created a solution. Ulrich Beck proposes a few creative responses to aspects of Globalization.  In The Brave New World of Work Beck’s precarity of work in the second modernity, enabled by information technology, ceded to new paradigms of multi-activity society and thus innovated new forms of work and new systems for distribution of work.  Examples include France’s “young managers” and their system of “reappropriation of time” (Centre de Jeunes Dirigeants, Paris, 1995, cited by Beck 2000, p.59), allowing labour participants to shape their own destinies; or Friethjof Bergmann’s rather regimented but dynamic multi-activity, full-employment scheme, which combines paid employment , self employment and play.  Beck’s own creative strategy for the future is based on the premise that “Everything is work, or it is nothing” (2000, pg. 62).  It also accepts the irreversibility of ‘full employment’ society’s decline, which had been instigated by Globalization.  His solutions read like a serene survivor’s meaningful response to the devastating consequences of unbridled market force. In the context of America’s militarist-based strategy of Globalization as described by Johnson, Beck’s “Vision of the Future” as embodied in Civil Society demonstrates a heroic continuum to his understanding of creative process, precipitated by a risk management of precarity which is driven by uncertainty.

Whilst it is essential to understand Ulrich Beck’s theories in the context of the violently aggressive militarist realities of Empire which reshaped the America that was once predicated upon the values of the Age of Enlightenment; it is also useful to understand them in the context of Enlightenment itself.  Richard Sennett has quoted James Madison in his book about the the American workscape at fin de siecle: The Corrosion of Character to contextualise the concept of sympathy, one of the enduring human qualities that tends to atrophy in a precariously flexible culture of work in the information age.   Madison stated that dictates of conscience are inalienable from the human condition, “because what is here a right towards men is a duty toward the creator” (Madison cited by Sennett, 1998, pg 38).  Sennett also qualifies that “ Eruptions of sympathy”  (1998, pg. 38) are unpredictable and blur moral boundaries, whilst stretching concepts of time, since they do not adhere to timing.  The concept of Sympathy shares some values of transformation exhibited by Globalisation or the second modernity, but whilst its spontaneity adheres to uncertainty, it is also a tithing to the creative process.  If humankind has been made in its creator’s substantive likeness, which is the very premise behind America’s brand of universal human equality, all humans are aspiring creators, and sympathy, as a spontaneous dictate of conscience, is integral to creative process. Creativity must therefore succumb to uncertainty.  Since uncertainty is integral to risk, risk is at least tangential to creativity.  It might not be the denouement of any risk strategy, as contemporary American foreign policy has demonstrated, but according to the logic of ‘Enlightenment’, creativity is informed by risk and governed by conscience.  In fact the architects of Capitalism’s apathy toward the “bads” of neo-liberalism and globalization are being definitively and decidedly non-creative according to America’s founding principles.

In The Corrosion of Character, Sennett outlines a case study involving two generations of American worker.  The narrative progresses from father Enrico, ‘blue-collar’ worker, to Rico ‘information’ worker.  His father’s work embodied the Taylorist/Fordist construct as a menial worker, with wages in the lowest percentile.  Its long term security allowed personal wealth accumulation which allowed Rico’s upwardly mobility, especially through educational opportunities,  and his own information sector based start up company which placed his earnings in the top 5%. Though it is a generational Horatio Alger style success story, Rico is extraordinarily dissatisfied with the precarious, uncertain and risky, nomadic lifestyle his work affords, as it foments meaninglessness and disconnection.  His aspirations and inner reality are disjointed.  He describes a nearly immediate disintegration of his suburban reality just as soon as it is established and bemoans his vicarious lifestyle, attributing it to the high turnover of personnel and projects at work, which is characteristic of a flexible work culture.  His resultant anarchic lifestyle, conspires to corrupt his children’s lives, especially when coupled with sexual and violent content in the media – a contemporary consequence of aggressive, competitive immaterial expansion according to Gail Dines (Pornland: How Porn has Hijacked our Sexuality, 2010).  Wherever possible, Rico and his wife are equally vigilant in supervising their children’s development and discuss complex themes from television with them, but their overarching concern is for how their intermittent presence in their children’s lives interferes with imparting to them the benefits of longterm and sustained associations, such as loyalty, trust, commitment and purpose.  Furthermore, the dynamics of corporate teamwork, when translated to family life, are disorienting to children.  It atrophies narrative, alienates people, discourages human bonding and sustainable self regeneration in the context of random vagaries.  The precarity of Rico’s existence, which is a consequence of opportunity created by information technology and overwhelming forces of Globalisation, is also creating a risky situation for his children and arguably for the future.  He is uncertain that his children will not learn core human values which will not allow them to connect with others, one of which could be sympathy.

Sennett (1998) acknowledges that startup companies rely on the intensitivity and frequent turnover that their risk culture cultivates, because stakeholders and producers perceive that such properties will ensure better value for money within the corporate construct.  When examined closer however these perceptions are misleading and the consequences of ‘Re-engineering’ are disturbing for corporations themselves.  ‘Re-engineering’, a form of power-downsizing or “doing more with less” (Hammer and Champy, 1993 cited in Sennett, 1998, p.49) also incites irreversible change.  Sennett refers to Erik Clemons (1995 cited in Sennett, 1998, p.49) who reports a high incidence of failure in Re-engineering, which often becomes dysfunctional during the staff redundancy phase of its process.  Moreover, Wyatt Companies and the American Marketing Association studies (Applebaum and Batt, 1993 cited in Sennett, 1998, p.50) determined that downsizing failures are caused from lowered morale and motivation in the workers, who were more concerned with who would be the next career casualties within this climate, than with any celebratory triumph over former colleagues.  Taking Madison’s quote as atmosphere, it seems that, when the corporate sphere cuts corners in the form of human capital, it performs irreversible damage; because it destroys, rather than creates opportunities for itself.  It attacks the true heirs to creativity.  In the dialectic of Enlightenment, Humanity is heir apparent to its creator and thus the appointed guardian of creativity.  Commutatively, when individuals attempt to operate in a way that disables other individuals, denying them of their inalienable rights, they also divest themselves of and cast themselves from their respective sphere of creativity.
Of profound concern to Sennett’s treatise is the internalised, individualised precarity of corporate culture within the individual labourer.  Rico embodies a principle which shares its commonality with other information workers and which Sennett describes as a stasis of self-determination which is imprisoned by overcompensatory values.   When subject to multiple layoffs, Rico recognises his powerlessness in the overall scheme of corporate culture’s leviathan force, accepts its rejection, dusts himself off, regroups and makes himself available for the next disposable opportunity.  His sense of responsibility is unwavering in this uncertainty.  However, as Sennett aptly clarifies, making one’s self adept at flexibility in this circumstance is not even a viable substitute for responsibility.  (1998, p.28).  In The Successful Self:  Freeing our Hidden Inner Strengths, Dorothy Rowe (1996) psychoanalyses intense, precarious and internalised reactions to trauma.   She describes how the individual will subvert a sustained course of trauma by trying to control it.  The recipient is uncertain of the extent of attack and may self determine negatively, as a coping mechanism, in order to create an opportunity to redeem and save the self from annihilation.  More succinctly, Sennett paraphrases the objectified recipient’s subtext for the self in a precarious climate of dangerous uncertainty:  “you don’t really matter” (1998, p.29).

The Organisation for Co-operation and Economic Development, along with the International Labour Organisation have determined that the range of ‘flexible work’ includes diversified, temporary, part-time and self employment, according to Beck (2000, p.56).  Part-time work made up 40% of work in the 1990s.  ‘Flexible work’ is a consequence of ‘network society’ whereby capital is global and labour is individualised and most often local.  (Manuel Castells 1996, cited by Beck 2000, pg.47).  Clearly a hierarchy of capital and labour is firmly entrenched in network society which is rapidly becoming mainstream.  According to Sennett ,‘Risk’ is defined by moving from pillar to post in network society and that its uncertainty enables this mobility.  Furthermore success in this world of work is more likely where there are more gaps in the market and more alienation between people.  Sennett recounts a similar dynamic when focusing on the unlikely alignment of Karl Marx and Adam Smith in their disdain for the Fordist work dynamic which robbed workers of control via mechanised division of labour. Further aggravating this degradation of work ethic, the application of Frederick W. Taylor’s time motion studies would finally delegate industry from independently contracted production units of skilled workers to unskilled, unorganized migrant labourers – from groups to individuals – under the guise of spreading the wealth and simplifying process.  Instead it was a front for controlling means of production, controlling people and maximising profit.  A brutal risk regime was created where the uncertainty of process within production units would be displaced by precarity of human existence in order to standardise modes of production and consumption. There seems to be an systemic parallel of process between the ‘Industrial Revolution’ and ‘Network Society’ which is made manifest via an osmotic transference of burden from capital to labour.  In ‘Network Society’ labour shoulders more of the burden by being site specific yet disaggregated, globally, according to Beck (2000).  In both eras of work the labourer internalises his/her exploitation.   By the 1970s Fordism was unsustainable economically.  This progression begs the question : What will happen to Network Society, possibly mainstream society, and what might induce its entropy?  In both scenarios, capital establishes a culture of risk, mitigated by uncertainty toward coping mechanisms that transmogrify danger to precarity.  It is only creativity, proactivated by humanity, which takes decisive action to resolve, connect and distill complexity to a higher vibration of understanding and create improved modes of operation.

In contextualising his case study on the Neo-Bohemians of Chicago’s Wicker Park, Neo-Bohemia:  Art and Commerce in the Postindustrial City, Richard Lloyd documents its history as a magnet for multi-racial and subcultural confluence.  Originating as a Fordist, localised, industrialised fixture on the outskirts of America’s foremost prairie city, Chicago, in the early 1800s; Wicker Park was one of the only surviving districts of the Great Fire of 1871.  It transformed Chicago into the largest expanding city in the world, at turn-of-century, when a profound mix of African-Americans, Euro-Americans and Scandi-Americans migrated there, from other parts of the devastated city and prairie. Chicago self fulfilled its American melting pot city legacy as refuge to disaster via multi-cultural influx to Wicker Park, transcending it from a mosaic of segregated subcultures.  Danger had oppressed the survivors to site specific association, boundaries were blurred, new networks emerged.  By the 20th Century it became a “seedbed of political radicalism”, (Coorens, Elaine A, 2003, pgs.44-45 cited by Lloyd, 2006 pg.30).  It is in fact an American heritage site of network society & political radicalism.  This dynamic of uncertainty, informed by risk, and transformed via precarity created a new city-scape which awakened Enlightenment’s dream.  Its legacy was only able to survive long enough to become a template for Neo-Bohemia, via spontaneous eruptions of sympathy which would inform political activism, before Fordism collapsed to allow a new influx of creatives to its post-industrial urbanscape.  Marxist historian, E.P. Thompson’s 1967 statement that labourers “experience a distinction between their employer’s time and their ‘own’ time.” (Thompson, 1967, cited by Sennett, 1998, pg.39) was invested with a new dimension of meaning in this context and seems prophetic.

Network society is certainly an object of knowledge work, which is apparently the guiding principle of the rise of the Neo-Bohemian movement according to Lloyd (2006).  Sennett  refers to Joseph Schumpeter’s concept of ‘Creative Destruction’ (1998, p.30) as an imperative for entrepreneurs to operate with serene functionality during uncertain times.  He credits the organizational nature of narrative, with enabling this functionality by lending meaning to existence and cultivating core strength to regenerate and self-sustain.  He also warns about the eroding effects of Neo-liberalism’s flexible work culture.  Lloyd concurs that “Uncertainty and unpredictability, and to varying degrees personal risk, have diffused into a broad range of postindustrial workplaces, service and production alike.  Tenuousness and uncertainty have become ‘normal’ facts of work and employment across  the occupational spectrum in the US” (2006, p.239).  He notes a certain pride within the community of creatives called Neo-Bohemians, in distinguishing themselves from their Bohemian precursors because they have been sleekly honed by the post-industrial cityscape of Globalization and Neo-liberalism.  Neo-Bohemians flaunt flexible survival in in the adversity of uncertainty, but seem resistant to connect with traditional Bohemian identity, blithely unaware of the marginalised insecurity which has defined l’art Boheme for centuries, and has recently spread to other sectors of the economy.  In fact the historic DIY Bohemian lifestyle is well suited to the neo-liberal, capitalist entrepreneur.  “Living on the edge as supreme virtue is in fact quite adaptive to labor realities.”  (Lloyd p.241).  Lloyd postulates that the Neo-Bohemians cluster in Wicker Park is a pilgrimmage to a site specific, sacred space, resonant with a history of  multi-culturalism, political activism and creative ingenuity.  There is a perverse precarity he describes in the traditional stance of Bohemians, which could be summed up as cynicism, and corresponds to Sennett’s depiction of Rico (1998), whereby community is dissolved nearly as soon as it’s established.  Aspirations of authentic autonomy always fall short of actualisation, which could translate to the kind of dissatisfaction which enables exploitation attendant to typical capitalist expansion.  Lloyd likens Wicker Park to a post-industrial ‘MacGuffin’ (Truffaut,1967, p.98, cited by Lloyd, p244) or disposable catalyst, which lures more diversified forms of business to the area.  Inversely, it is poor compensation in the arts which incentivises Creatives to participate in these flexible forms of labour that it catalyzes.  Uncertainty of traditional creative industries motivates Neo-Bohemian flight to the precarity of network society located in these heritage sites of creative industry.

In his essay within The Foucault Effect:  Studies in Governmentality, which is entitled ‘Theatrum Politicum: The Genealogy of Capital – Police and the State of Prosperity’.  Pasquale Pasquino refers to ‘ Theatrum Politicum’ as the fundamental struggle between good and evil which is embodied by state and society – where society is an object of knowledge and target of political intervention known as “ ‘the science of happiness’ and the ‘science of government’ ” (Pascino 1978, p.108) within Paternalist Regimen (1851, Humboldt cited by Pascino 1978, p.108).  He further contextualises “police and civilization” (1978, p.107) with an early 19th Century quote from Cesare Beccaria Bonesana (1804, pp 22-3 cited by Pascino 1978, p.109) :  “…neither the products of the earth, nor those of the work of the human hand, nor mutual commerce, nor public contributions can ever be obtained from men with perfection and constancy if they do not know the moral and physical laws of the things upon which they act and if the increase of bodies is not proportionately accompanied by the change of social habits; if, among the multiplicity of individuals, works and products one does not at each step see shining the light of order, which renders all operations easy and sure…..” Truly, modes of production must adhere to moral order or chaos and violence ensues.  The architects of Globalization must have missed that lecture.   Today, 46 million Americans live below the poverty line, and so do 22% of American children. (Kaufman, G. 2012).  In spite of its founding principles borne from the ‘Age of Enlightenment’ America has created and is now the object of its own precarious empire of risk.  It seems especially sinister when considered in the context of Pasquino’s lecture, especially when he quoted from Piercy Ravenstone’s work on ‘Capital’ (1821, Chapter 1, cited by Pasquino, 1978 pg.105):  “It has none but a metaphysical quality”

Risk, Uncertainty, Precarity and Creativity are aspects of change and, by commutative philosophy, are constant.  Precarious claims  of irreversibility by proponents of Globalization are at once obvious and misleading, since they denote stasis which is inconstant by default.  Bravely, Beck (2000) asserts that loss of security from the second modernity, or Globalization, converted into the blossoming of social creativity and proposes an alternative economy of multiple currencies begotten from multi-activity based, civic society.  He also attributes this conversion to the widespread accessibility of education in the 1970s.  Lloyd (2006) speaks of “subcultural capital” (2006, pg.243) and the “productive leisure” (2006, p.243) of Wicker Park.  He hints about its cult legacy as a goldmine for branding culture and a mecca for hyper-educated American creatives to pursue craft.  Sennett (1998) points to Joseph Schumpeter for notions of inner strength and firm personal boundaries in uncertain times.  He also nods to America’s founding fathers for ideas of sympathy as an inalienable right and a creative’s core value via duty to his/her creator.  Pasquino (1978) borrows from Ravenstone when he asserts that capital is metaphysical.  According to my studies, Creatives have an imperative to take ownership of their core values and discovered sacred spaces, especially when there is justification for heritage value in the case of the latter.  Bohemians have an unsung yet well documented heritage that dates back to Enlightenment at the latest.  Neo-Bohemians or Creatives should dictate the terms of their estate, as part of a continuum of civic evolution.  Universal human sympathy must be core to manifesto.  Neo-Bohemians operate in the sphere of Creativity, and by definition they are resilient to risk, shaped by uncertainty, triumphant over precarity.  Creatives cultivate these qualities, which are attractive to Capital, itself desperate to find expansion through innovation, as the penny drops, brutally and empirically, that the earth is not an infinitely expanding resource.  It is not such a great leap to shift objective and skillset, derived from mercenary cash conversion, to cultivation of an alternative economy and civic society.  Creatives need to be vigilant en masse and stake claim to the integrity of their creative property as a matter of human sustainability.
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Essay from Goldsmiths class 2011/12 :


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