The Way We Live Now: Bartering. And gambling. Bartering and gambling. We've regressed.

"Banks" with their "money" and complex "economic systems"—bah. They got us into this mess. Regression is the new progress. In Italy, they're moving back to real, sustainable trading systems, just like they had in the dark ages. Keep your "Euros," Adam Smith; Italian banks are now accepting ham and wine as collateral for loans. When the borrower inevitably defaults, the banker will still be able to get drunk.

And eat ham!

Not that we're all as advanced as pork-hoarding Italianos. Some people are still giving "Money" to "art." Unless art is better kindling than money, stop that immediately. In Maine, backwards yokels are fighting each other over the rights to harvest lobsters.

Which, clearly, are less valuable than ham.

Luckily, if you're not skilled enough to raise fine hams, there's another lucrative profession remaining: swindler. Simple-minded Americans continue to willingly hand over their hard-earned lucre in order to participate in laughably rigged games of chance. Non-pork farmers all dream of winning the lottery—or, failing that, of selling the winning lottery ticket. One store in Queens sold two winning lottery tickets in the past eight weeks! "What Are The Odds?" asks the New York Times, apparently not rhetorically since they didn't bother to call some stats professor at Queens College to answer the question. Here: there are 16,000 ticket outlets in the state, so assuming equal ticket sales at each, the odds are one in 16,000. Once they sold the first winner, the odds for selling a winner for the next drawing, or the next one, would also be one in 16,000.

Which is to say: poor odds. Invest in ham.