An in-law of mine who does rural development work in the Philippines told me about a new water system he worked on in a mountain village. It proceeded in two stages. First, the water was piped to a common containment pool. In stage two it went from there to individual houses.
The assumption was that people would appreciate the convenience of doing their wash at home, the way Americans and Europeans do. Yet even after stage two was completed, women in the village continued to use the common pool in the morning to wash clothes, as is the tradition in that country. For these women the washing was not just domestic work. It was a social occasion.
This socializing couldn’t have happened in the “convenience” of their homes, because convenience in that case would be another word for loneliness and isolation. It would be what happens in an economy – such as that of the United States -- when the social content of life is stripped away, and all that’s left is stuff.