that is a great letter. i'm a history buff so sorry in advance for writing way too much as usual. also open to corrections if anybody has another reading of the period! long story short though Bukowski as usual is right on the money.
event he marhsall plan which is often described as an act of benevolence, actually destroyed the village-based culture of self-reliance in rural europe. before wwII the standard rural european village consisted of from a half-dozen to 20 or 30 homes clustered around, each with its own cows, chickens, pasture, cornfields, etc, all worked mostly by hand (certainly there was also imperialism and exploitation of foreign cultures and lands in a systematic way, but that mostly benefitted the ambitions of the industrialists, bankers, and other big city types). in other words, money played a relatively insignificant role in non-city-dwellers' lives. after the war, rural europe was very rapidly sucked into the vortex of the cash economy, forced to specialize, buy expensive 'tools' just in order to compete, and then sell their goods, and then take the money (the value of which was controlled in central banks) and buy stuff in those new things called supermarkets. so teh marshall plan didn't just 'give money,' to the poor, defeated peoples of europe recovering from the bizarre brainwashing of nazism. rather, it gave vouchers, which could only be used for certain things (sugar, grains, and heavy farm equipment from the states, especially). in the states everything changed too although we never really had the village-based structure as much because the us (away from the east coast) was built around the (a) trickle-out of white settlers following the flurry out of white armies to decimate and corral the natives according to the doctrines of manifest destiny, christian evangelism, and 'taming' of nature (b) railroads and logging paths (rather than horse- or foot-paths like in europe). we've never had a stable culture here, really. first there was logging and natural resource extraction, then family farms (and continued resource extraction, although logging has become more sustainable than it used to be for sure)) then a rise of manufacturing with the destruction of the south int he civil war and mass migration to the cities of the north from around 1880-1900. then the depression hit after wwI because of the overexuberant development after the civil war. ww2 came along and fired that old economy back up, including feminism which helped to justify the war-time cry of putting women to work outside the home (a side effect of which was the destruction of what little remained of the 'homemaker-based' domestic culture). then after the war came the four-lane highways (along with cars, tractors, lawnmowers, plastics, domestic technology and hospitals/medical technology especially), all built with the money/resources pillaged from the 'losers' in the war. when the four lanes came up, they made it possible to commute to the cities longer distances, this led to suburban sprawl. so everybody moved all at once. when everybody moved it made it possible to change the rules of the game - there were no 'locals' to say 'hold on a second.' that's when all the dogs were put on leashes, everything was sterilized, and yes, the food definitely did not taste the same - monstanto was a huge beneficiary of ww2 (along with the tractor companies, and the factory farms that ran on tractors and gmo seeds, chemical fertilizers, etc).