Friday, October 08, 2004

The parable of the wet firewood

If you’re bush camping in a public place, or even in your own “secret” spot, one thing you make sure of before you go is to – assuming there is a suitable under-cover spot – leave some firewood there. Some might call this replacing what you use, but I don’t see that it should make any difference whether there is any stored wood or not when you get there.

The storing-firewood-for-next-time imperative usually works fine even if you’re storing wet firewood. In this and another way it is the antithesis of just-in-time managerialism. Most importantly of all, storing firewood for the next-user (whether you or a stranger) recognises an economic truism – the “rainy day”, quite literally. You can’t buy, find, or make dry firewood in the bush when it is raining – and it is in these precise weather conditions that you are most desirous of a fire, of course.

Tomorrow, both main parties are running platforms that will see Australia’s infrastructure and human talent still further run into the ground. One day – and I hope for yours and my sake it’s soon – we’re all gonna wake up wet and cold, surrounded by wet wood for as far as the eye can see.

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