I expect you’ve heard of the saying, “Penny wise and pound foolish.” It’s British in origin, but I expect that were you to change “pound” to “dollar” it would still apply here in America. For it speaks of those who won’t think of the future, who won’t plan for it. They assume that everything we do will be getting replaced, and that we’ll always have the money and resources to replace it.

And a good part of this has to do with ego. With the belief that it is your work that must be implemented to take the place of an earlier effort some may consider inferior.. And even when it isn’t it’s still not yours.

For we very often have a need to put our impression on the world, and that in turn needs to be totally unique. It just doesn’t occur to some that what they do with a property can and will have an effect on how others see it. A Mr. Jones may be the man who built the Steinfeld towers, but it will be the third owner, A Mr. Steinfeld the towers are remembered for.

So we build temporary, knowing our work is going to be replaced. Since it is temporary it is thus shoddy requiring more maintenance than it otherwise would. And since maintenance costs money, that’s money that can’t be used for other things. Which means the small and the petty end up costing us much and wasting our time and resources.

An office tower is not a computer. Buildings don’t become obsolete just because there’s a new toy on the market. If the tower is well designed then the new toy can easily be incorporated into it. Why waste a perfectly good thing just because somebody else built it.

We’re just too rich, that’s my conclusion. We need a bout of poverty to teach us the value of a buck. A century or two where the money is tight and we have to scrimp and save. And expect it to come, for we are as wastrels and spendthrifts casting about the Pecans of Plenty refusing to acknowledge that the trees that produced the pecans die centuries ago and we are now looting treasures that were meant to last for much longer than they apparently will.

Good times never really last for long, and there will always be times when life is hard and costly. Fortunately we are investing in our future, for even the old has value. But when just spending so we can say we spent we’re wasting out time. We need to learn how to be foresighted.

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