WHEELS: THE CAR AS A CULTURAL DRIVING FORCE
Pierre Burton, in this essay talks about the evolution of the Car, and how we as a society have evolved along with it over the years. He addresses the various changes in our private and social lives which the car brought about. The main thesis of this essay can be said to be the relation between the Cars and the society, how the evolution of the car over the years has impacted it and to what extent it has changed. The first car to be manufactured and sold was built by a German, Karl Benz, in 1888, called the Benz Patent Motorwagen.1
There was no looking back now. Within two decades, an American by the name of Henry Ford ...view middle of the document...
Massive construction of roads and highways and associated facilities, such as motels and gas stations, provided a surge in employment levels. The 60’s era saw the rise of the muscle cars. Massive fuel guzzling vehicles with huge motors, and the people bought these in large numbers, mainly as a means to show off their wealth or just for the sake of it. There was the general idea that bigger is better
Although having cars around is a big boon, there are a lot many underlying issues related to this wonderful invention, and the impact it has had on our social structure is far from all fine and dandy. Pierre Burton refers to a quote by Marshall McLuhan –
“It is the pedestrian who has now become the second class citizen.”
This is quite true as far as the modern society is concerned. One who does not have a car to get him from place to place is thought of as a liability, as a person who cannot be as productive as the one who does have a car.
Also, ever since the first cars rolled off the production line, a lot many people lost their jobs. The coach and carriage industry suffered a huge blow. Many blacksmiths, wheel rights, stable hands, saddle makers and those with other skills were left without work. And when the automation of the assembly line took full stride, still more people lost jobs. Sure the cars were now cheaper, but at what cost? Small towns and villages suffered huge losses of manpower, anyone who could afford a car preferred to go work in the city, be back home in...