It's interesting what the Interstate highways brought. Allowed me to drive between Ohio, Tennessee, South Carolina, and California quite easily, and made my life a lot better because of it. But for some people, the loss of the old was a disappointment.
Today the factory farms with the GM crops are a new challenge - I've heard there are almost no birds in the very large areas of these farms. And there are serious questions about the crops. Time will tell.
Absolutely right. Convenience and speed. And there isn´t a lot wrong with those concepts either. The problem lies with the sense of loss of what was already there had you but time, or the old knowledge that it is there, to savour it. Perhaps it breaks down into purpose: business or pleasure. My French Autoroute drives were usually spring or autumn and the fact that most of northern Europe drives southwards to the sunshine in summer did all that it took to keep us away at such times. The fact that the big roads charge tolls also reduces flow and creates excellently maintained parking and refuelling areas; something that poverty-stricken (or should that be resource-diverted?) Britain would do well to recognize and implement.
Leaving the French Autoroutes at Calais and joining the southern English ones again became a culture-shock in the extreme: dirty, unpleasant restaurants(?) and road surfaces that made you wonder if your suspension had just collapsed! And why? Because they won´t make you pay direct tolls, but try to do it by raising car ownership taxes and then diverting the money to mean, political advantage in the voter catchment areas that suit their party needs around election time. I guess a nation gets the politicians it deserves. The nation does the voting...
Much of Europe is doing its best to prevent GM farming; there might be financial reasons as well as safety ones for this, but all you need do is drive through France or even Britain and you see gigantic swathes of countryside with all the space you ever need for productive, conventional farming methods. What you get, in both zones, is the government paying farmers NOT to grow stuff... crazy, or what? We don´t need artificial food; we need to make use of the golden opportunities that nature has already given us in abundance. We need to cut out the subsidies, the payments to keep the wilfully unemployed off the land or whatever workplace they would otherwise have to fill.
There is an unemployment level in Spain´s Balearic Islands of over 60%, made up, largely, of people in the building trade, many of whom are from North Africa and beyond. The current crisis has stopped most of the speculative construction work and these people, along with the indigenous ones, are in dire need of support. Social Security payments last for 6 months - if you have been working legally for a while. Why are they even here? Because the locals have become too comfortable with the good times and easy tourist buck and refuse hard manual graft, so the contractors have to employ whoever they can find willing to work in the dust. Or in the fields, in the case of the farmers.
We used to have a concept called National Service in Britain. It meant that for two years of your life you had to become part of the military of whichever type. This served the purpose of keeping down the unemployment figures and providing cannon fodder for military adventures in foreign parts. It was said that it made a man of you - what a cute phrase and idea! What it did was take two years out of a life at a time when you most needed to devote your mind and attention to making something of a career! Or, you devoted as much time if not longer, during those sensitive years, to finding means of avoiding such a waste of time and, in so doing, wasted even more of it. The same concept remains in place in parts of Europe today...
Let those who want a life in the Services have it; we need them and if they are a voluntary force will be much the better for it. But why pretend the life is for everyone? Far better, in my opinion, the impossible task of making everybody experience the life of the self-employed for two years; there´s something interesting about learning the concept that the world does not owe one a living and, in fact, is trying its damndest to deny you one!