I was fiddling around with my old citizens band radio one day and to my surprise picked up the following conversation!
(Static, static) Breaker, Breaker, Hello, Central, do you read me? This is Inspector P. Panther reporting in.
(Static, static) Hi Good Buddy, this is Central Control reading you loud and clear, go ahead with your report.
Panther: So I am on station at planet X2D2. It’s been 25 orbits around its sun since I last reported, seems to be some changes in how things are going down there. Things were pretty stable for a couple of hundred orbits since we changed their world by sending them technology to allow them to develop engine power. But less stable now, big changes coming.
Control: Yeah well, must have been a big change when we showed them how to make transistors instead of those silly vacuum tubes they had come up with!
Panther: That’s for sure; you will be surprised where that is going. Anyway they seem to have lost their way on agriculture, instead of the sustainable family-scale self-perpetuating crop-and-animal way we taught them, it’s all gone to big acreages of continuous frankencrop monoculture. That is destroying the soil and maybe the climate, so it looks like they are doomed .
Control: So, can you see any reason they are doing that?
Panther: Nope. Maybe small independent self-sufficient farmers were too hard for the Nobility to control, so they evolved this system so all the money goes to the city and most of the people had to move to the city too.
Control: OK, how does it look like that will pan out?
Panther: Not good, maybe civil war when they run out of food. Unless there is a change in their culture – it is quite amazing to look down on their cities, sprawling out over the country side. Each family has an area around their house big enough to grow their own food, but instead they use it to try to grow a better crop of grass than the neighbours.
Panther: Yes, it’s a green herb, not good for much except to cover up the ground. I think it’s a class thing, comes from before we got involved, when their Nobility had big acreages of landscaped grounds around their castles. These folks seem to think that a well-kept patch of grass makes them Noble too.
Control: So they are degrading the farmland, and each putting a lot of effort into growing a patch of grass which they do not use for anything except to impress each other. Anything else new?
Panther: Yep the most amazing change is that they advanced that transistor technology we gave them to where they all carry a little electronic device and spend all their time and attention playing with them. They don’t seem to socialize even as much as they did my last trip. Way less than 50 orbits ago when they spent a lot of time socializing together, doing little ritual movements as a group along with some annoying and raucous noises, they called it “dancing”. Now they are just isolated. That might be the worst development of all; they are after all herd animals and can’t live as individuals very long.
Control: Okey dokey, report noted, over and out.