The innovations in the automobile industry are one of the best technological advancements to have happened in the last century. The development of the diesel engines has revolutionized transportation and led to unprecedented economic, social and cultural developments in the American and world societies. The cars provide a means of transport from which people move goods, go to work in distant places, move from one destination to another with ease and thus bridging time gap. Moreover, cars have made it easy for people to meet and socialize. Therefore, cars have brought huge economic, social and cultural changes and their elimination would have huge impact on the social, cultural and economic aspects of the American society.
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The American society has developed to its current social, economic and cultural status thanks to the developments in the automobile industry (American Library Association, 2011). The United States has since grown into the world super power. The presence of good road network in the country facilitates the movement of people and goods from one destination to another and this has played a huge role in its economic growth. Road network in the United States is estimated to stretch to over 3.9 million miles, with road transport accounting to more than three quarters of the transportation system in the country. This means that if all cars in the United States were banned today, a huge economic gap would be witnessed. For example, it would be difficult to move people and goods from one destination to another and thus posing huge economic impact.
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Moreover, the automobile industry remains one the largest and biggest contributors to the American economy (American Library Association, 2011). The international automobile manufacturers such as Toyota and the Detroit big three employ thousands of Americans, who are engaged in direct manufacture or in the sales. The elimination of cars in the country would mean that the many Americans who are employed directly or indirectly in the automobile industry will lose jobs and thus compromising their source of livelihoods. While any government struggles to eliminate unemployment and improve the livelihoods of its citizens, the elimination of cars would mean that unemployment rates will increase in the country. Consequently, the taxes that come from the automobile industry would be lost and thus negatively effecting the country’s economy.
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Banning of all cars would have adverse effects on the social and cultural developments in the country. The Americans society is one of the most social; the citizens cater in different locations for social functions. Most people go to church, some attend to family meetings on regular basis and most these require movements involve the use of cars. As the Americans are accustomed to the use of cars as a means of movement, their elimination would make it hard for such people to have social meetings without cars. Moreover, the use of cars are not only a means of movement, they are used to express one’s social class. The elimination of the cars would effectively effect and eliminate the cultural identity amongst the Americans, which is associated with the ownership and use of cars. An example is the pop culture, which is associated with use of pimped cars. According to (Reed, 2011), the American pop culture is one of the most attractive elements in the American culture. Eliminating the use of cars will equally lead to the removal of American pop culture, which has a substantial impact on the economy of the United States.
The Adjustments That Americans Would Have To Make to Effectively Function In an “Automobile-Free” Society
The elimination of automobiles from American society will be faced with fierce resistance, an indication of the hard adjustments that the Americans would have to make. Although it would be hard to make such adjustments, it would be a decision that everyone would have to make if forced to. According to (Kotter, 2007) change is one of the hardest processes to adopt, as it is faced with resistance as people find it hard to leave their comfort zones. Although it may take time to make the adjustments, eventually the Americans will adapt to life without cars. However, the Americans will have to make a number of adjustments in order to settle into their new way of life.
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What comes into the mind of many Americans with the elimination of cars is how to accomplish the daily tasks that are facilitated by cars. The first adjustment would be how to bridge time gap created with the elimination of cars. Most people will learn to use the rather untraditional methods of going to work, for example using bicycles. Therefore, many households will be forced to acquire and learn how to ride the bicycles. This would only work for cases that involve short distances, especially jobs that are nearby. However, if the place of work were far, more adjustments would have to be considered, for example the use of train.
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As mentioned earlier in the paper, cars are used for cultural and music purposes. Therefore, in order to meet the new challenges posed by the elimination of the cars, many Americans will be forced to use trains and bicycles for purposes of travelling for meetings. However, the pop music industry may opt for more flashy motorcycles, which are less common among the pop stars. Cars offers flexibility of mixing one’s daily responsibilities and still finding time to visit relatives because they are fast, offers relatively more safety compared to other forms of movement like motorcycles. Unlike trains, cars facilitate movement to one’s destination. Moreover, unlike bicycles and motorcycles, cars have roofing, which shields one from rain and the effect of external climate. Therefore, with the elimination of cars, the American society will have to content to having family gathering less frequently, especially if involves travelling far distances. In order to bridge the gap, Americans will be forced to use other methods of communication like voice and video calls for business, social and cultural meetings.
What I would personally Give Up / Change About My Lifestyle to Live in an “Auto-Mobile Free” Society
Living in an “automobile free” society would require more change that is personal and even giving up on some things associated with the use of cars. First, I would have to give up some of my luxuries, for example meeting less frequently with friends and going out less frequently. This is especially for cases that involve meeting friends who come from far. I will have to content with outings that involve shorter distances and this would mean having to get accustomed with only nearby friends. In addition, I would have to change and make occasional visits to my relatives who live far. In addition, in case I have to visit them, then I would have to start to use train. I will have to start to try to walk a lot since the elimination of cars will mean the need to walk more.
If I had to change, I would make such adjustments, albeit with more time for it would be hard to imagine a world with no cars. Acquisition of a bicycle would be easy, however, the idea of using it when visiting my friends and for social gatherings is hard to envisage. Moreover, it would be easy to adjust into using trains for long distances, although it would involve more sacrifice like letting go the comfort of being in a personal car and travelling with people of different races, culture and ages. Therefore, I would make the adjustments given the nature of circumstances but it would take time to fit into the new mode of transport.
The Ways That American Society Would Be Better Off Without the Automobile
Although the advent of the automobile has revolutionized development and economic growth, it has also created problems. The automobiles are associated with accidents, which claim lives of many Americans annually and health problems caused by the emissions (Anwar, Ejaz, Ashraf, Ahmad, & Javeed, 2012). The increased uses of automobiles have created congestion and massive green house gas emissions. The American society would be better off without cars, as it would mean living in an environment that is free from pollution, which is threatening the global biodiversity. Moreover, many people continue to lose their loved ones from road accidents owing to reckless driving. Life without cars would mean less accidents, cleaner environment and free movement of people within cities and towns.
The Ways That the Society Would Be Worse Off
Life without cars would mean difficulty in giving emergency response in case of criminal attack or sickness. Moreover, the ease with which cars facilitate business meeting means it has accelerated the speed of movement of goods and business meeting, thus allowing people to conduct their businesses in record time compared to life without automobiles. In addition, perishable goods, drugs and other emergency necessities can be moved from one location to another faster and in large quantities that would otherwise be hard to do with other conventional means of transport like use of bicycles. Therefore, life without cars would mean a loss of all these and the society would be worse off without cars.
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