You know, we're the most technologically advanced civilization in the history of the world, as far as we know of, and we can't even build roads properly. For that matter, nothing we build is going to last. If we all died tomorrow, in 100 years there would be no sign of Western Civilization. Future generations would think we were just as stupid and brainless as cavemen just because we can't build anything that doesn't fall apart on its own in ten years or less. Hell, we're CONSTANTLY fixing our fucking roads because we make them out of cheap, useless crap. The Romans were far less advanced technologically than we are, and their roads are still around without needing fixed after THOUSANDS of years. It's pretty pathetic when ancient civilizations can make roads that last thousands of years when we, supposedly the "best" culture in history, can't make a road that lasts longer than a few years.
Oh, don't get me wrong, I know that we CAN make roads that last forever... we just don't. Why? Specialized work is why. When you have people who specialize in making one kind of thing, especially when they can make it so cheap that they have to sell hundreds of what they make to survive, they fear for their future livelihood. Fearing for the future, thus, they purposefully build cheap crap that will need replacing in a short time. This wouldn't be a good idea if the price were higher and fewer people could afford to buy the products... sell mainly to the rich and you can get a lot for it since the common person can't afford it. Which is why Mazaratti makers are not hurting for business. However, in this economy where everyone can afford the crap people churn out (and keep demanding it), in order to continue making a living at whatever they're specialized to make, they churn out worthless shit. Just good enough to last a few years, and bad enough to last only a few years. Of course, that time seems to be shrinking from several years to one year.
Then there's another tactic... come out with a new version of your product every year. Make the old version look dull and boring in comparison, even if there's absolutely no difference between the two except for the outward appearance. Then people who can afford to buy a new one after so little time will do so, and the used ones will get sold to those who need a newer one but can't afford a brand-new one.
Actually, I stand corrected. We *will* have a legacy... plastic. That shit will never bio-degrade. Pretty pathetic, huh? Yeah, it's sad and pathetic that McDonalds Happy Meals will give us our legacy if our civilization fell tomorrow. I can see it now, a museum of the future: "And over here we have a plastic idol from the late Western era. These idols came with boughten meals and were worshipped as personal home totems to the Gods of Money, Success, Greed, and Waste. Now moving on..."