In view of the current sagging economy, (we’ve got 8.8 percent unemployment in Alabama at the moment) I decided to visit again a little book I first encountered in 1993: The Art & Science of Dumpster Diving, by John Hoffman, an expert in the art of scrounging.
If you aren’t familiar with this little soft- cover gem, perhaps it’s time you made its acquaintance. Despite the media’s sunshine-pumping over our “improving economy,” jobless figures are either stagnant or rising all over the country. Most of the improvement seems to be among investors and banks.
With every day that passes it becomes more clear we ARE in a recession, have been for years, and media smoke about a “recovery” is plain twaddle. Further, we’ve got 12 more months of the Barrack Obama presidency to suffer through, that is, if we last that long. Statistics are tricky little boogers: Alabama’s unemployment figure will bounce between 9 and 10 percent. But Wilcox County, Alabama, registers 26 percent jobless — that’s the same figure for the whole U.S. in 1932, the Great Depression. It’s plain some areas of this country are suffering far worse than statistics and the media allow.
Newspapers voiced a chorus of feeble cheers recently when the government reported a drop in unemployment from 10 percent to 9.7 percent. But its figures are based on ex-workers who apply for jobless payments. Not counted here are graduating students who can’t find work; or employees of small businesses in many states who aren’t eligible for those payments; or harassed breadwinners working two jobs who lost one of them. Adding another touch of woe to this portrait is rising gasoline prices, which will ensure job-hunters will pay more for their searches.
Hoffman has written what appears to be a handy manual on how to attain a recession-proof, comfortable life by raiding trash dumpsters. But his book is more than that. Continue reading