It is an interesting study. Automobiles made people more peripatetic; in a land where most people died within 25 miles of where they were born, ours has evolved into a migrating society. Automobiles made us less reliant upon the earth, and so we moved away from the farms to find other activities by which to earn our livelihood. The automobile even gave us some of these activities, such as new demands for glass, rubber, wood, leather, felt, plastic, and other petroleum products. We not only needed people who could make the parts and assemble them, we suddenly needed people to maintain or repair them. People moved from southern climates to take advantage of automotive jobs in the northern regions.
Along the way, they needed a place to rest and refresh themselves. A trip from Tennessee to Michigan couldn’t be made in a single day, so someone came up with the idea of motor hotels, or motels: a new industry with new demands for labor, and a convenience place for other activities. It didn’t change our morals necessarily; motels just gave us other options for cloaking our decadence.
Like the automobile, the Internet has offered yet another change in direction for humans. While some people continue to appreciate the convenience of local stores, others prefer Internet shopping. It is convenient, hassle free, and efficient. Of course, there is a cost to this convenience … it is driving the small convenient neighborhood merchants out of business. One day, these shops will be gone —and they won’t be coming back. The people who made a living as small merchants will have to find some other way of earning an income. Maybe they will find work with UPS or FedEx making deliveries of goods shipped from Internet retailers.
The Internet also makes us wonder whether we need a very expensive government post office. The number of people who write checks and pay their bills through the mail is rapidly dwindling. Who sends handwritten letters any more? Who sends handwritten thank you notes anymore? Z likes to, but do most people? Notsomuch, sadly. (as an aside, kids aren't even taught cursive anymore, so any kind of writing is going along the wayside!) Similarly, fewer people are reading newspapers; they get their news from online versions of the print media. The people who now advertise in local newspapers are moving away to what many people call junk mailers. I suppose that stuffing unsolicited advertisements into our mailboxes gives the postal worker something to do —but we wonder, for how long? And, for heaven's sake, could it stop soon, please!?
Changes within human societies always produce casualties. People lose their jobs, but they find new ones. Enrolling in courses to retrain is an income-producing venture, too. God forbid that we suddenly realize that we have more college professors than we really need. Too many lawyers is bad enough! Change is not only constant —it is inevitable.
We wonder … what are the biggest changes to society in your lifetime? How did they affect you personally?
Do you like change? Do you dream of days gone by, an easier, calmer, sweeter life? If so, then we have to remember that the easier life involves no aspirin, no ice cubes, no elevators.... Are we ever completely satisfied? And will that condition ever change!?
-Mustang and Z