Saturday, April 05, 2008

It's no secret that the industrial Midwest has been hit particularly hard by the economic downturn that this country has experienced since President Bush's first term in office. Even before his presidency, the so-called rust belt had been in slow decline for decades with manufacturing jobs moving out of the region and out of the country at a steady pace. Michigan and Ohio, once places that workers migrated to for employment opportunities, have probably seen the greatest losses..

The mood is apprehensive. Spring has arrived and so we enjoy the warmer temperatures after a cold, dark winter, but the economy is sluggish. During my walks through the neighborhood I see for sale signs and foreclosed homes in greater numbers than ever before. People are moving out, heading south or west for better prospects just like the people of an earlier time in US history. My father grew up during the 20s and 30s and served in the armed forces during WWII like many young men of his generation. He remembers the Great Depression and although the situation isn't nearly as extreme now, he's pessimistic about the future.

Government officials try to reassure the public, still everyone seems to sense that a turnaround could be further away than we would like to think. And the war is constantly in the background--five years of blood and treasure for very ill-defined and dubious goals. A reading with the Yijing includes the following lines from Hexagram 46.

Ascending, (an) empty city.

Ascending, (an) empty city
Without place, doubt indeed
At times the city does seem empty, especially in the downtown area, and there is doubt. And everyday more people are making the decision to leave.