My two baht on the subject is that, first, it's not a begging round. The Bhikkhus don't beg, anymore than the laity feels forced to offer food. The monks can't ask for anything. If no one provides alms, they go hungry. The relationship is mutual, supportive, and beneficial.
In 2013, reasonable people can always suggest that Vinaya rules don't apply anymore. Why not let Bhikkhus drive cars? Why not sleep on a big, comfy bed, or wear jewelry to look nice? As Bhante suggested earlier, these precepts cultivate moral discipline and, in practice, mitigate defilements. In my view, these practices can be inspirational to the laity. There are certain practices that the monks keep that make them mindful monks. One can always rightfully suggest that a practice or ritual does not make sense in modern times, but for me, that argument doesn't take away from the value of the practice or ritual. Is it useful that we all are mindful of what we consume, and how we view our relationship to food, our cravings, wants and desires for consumption of all things? As Gil Fronsdal puts it: Rituals, as important elements of human life, have been a significant aspect of Buddhist practice since the time of the Buddha. Rituals are a form of language that expresses many dimensions of our human condition, including our relationships to others and to our spiritual life. As actions done with others to share our common values, rituals help create community and mutual support. As a way of being mindful, they can bring a heightened awareness to aspects of our experience needing attention. Rituals often involve symbolism and speak to our subconscious. And when they are repeated frequently, they shape our dispositions. When done whole-heartedly, they help us discover and express some of our deepest feelings and aspirations. http://www.insightmeditationcenter.org