There are pressing short-term imperatives, which dominate our thoughts and actions, and there are long-term adaptations we need to make to protect our own futures together with the inheritance we leave for generations to come. By their very nature short-term imperatives take precedence over long-term adaptations.

Examples of short-term imperatives that impact on civil engineering are that each ruling party does its utmost to retain support for the next election, in part through new capital works rather than through the management of existing immovable assets; each annual budget must balance, even at the expense of fixed investment or by creating future liabilities; money is borrowed for current consumptive expenditure, thereby limiting funds for fixed investment; we must get work or sell products to keep our businesses running; we must educate our children to be able to compete in an increasingly global economy; and we must grow the economy to meet current as well as future needs.


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