Monday 28 February 2011

Quake entrepreneurship

While I write up a reply to Keith Ng's missive, do enjoy the following.

Grant Rigby, Manitoba raspberry wine baron and raconteur, sends along this helpful note suggesting that the Cramptons might have seen this as an entrepreneurial moment. As background, my parents, currently visiting, make home-style jam in Manitoba; Grant has long teased them about their labels.
If by fine luck residing in the area where water pipes and sewers no longer connect, then I reason that the elder Crampton may have set to building a quiet personal outdoor biffy, adapted from a design not remote in his memory. The younger Mrs. might have noticed how this improved the elder Crampton's public appearance at certain too frequent times of the day, and instructed his son to request the elder to build a second one for the neighbour to similarly enhance his appearance at certain times via the same proven principle of concealment. The neighbour would have likely then insisted on paying well in excess of material biffy costs, upon which the viability and need for this specialized enterprise would be evident. For material supply, the well honed arts of scavenge and salvage would have perfectly coincided to the timely regional need for such activity.

Surplus staff would likely have been hired to run the tills, to force rigor on the fledgling enterprise to increase supply and thus more rapidly conceal more of the neighbours. Between sessions of cutting nearly round holes in boards to customer specifications, the elder would have found time to proudly apply the ladies' Maid in Zeal labels, ensuring each was slightly off perfect to convincingly convey that enduring indisputable home-made quality.

The younger would have commenced the important composition of the dissertation for which his career would become most remembered, being the final convincing evidence of the overwhelming folly of taxing private economies to enable governments to attempt to provide complex integrated vulnerable rigid infrastructure concealed in fractious mantle floating on bubbling molten iron, to merely deliver a primary service which privates such as the elder Crampton would have done more durably in the absence of tax. The need for existence of nation states to coordinate bureaucracies would have thus become an ever diminishing note of history, as a united anarchy of private economies would soon come to reign.
In fact, the builder just down the road from us had set about to building an old-style outhouse, using his construction generator for that laudable purpose. Being without power, we would be unable to seize the entrepreneurial moment.

Actually, that's far too quick. Hiring a generator is not impossible, and combining that with labour and capital could have produced outhouses aplenty. But selling them for profit might have resulted in a tarring and feathering given the mood around the place.

If someone had driven a petrol tanker to New Brighton on Wednesday and sold petrol at $5/litre from the truck, I would have welcomed him as a hero and thanked him profusely for the ten litres I'd have purchased from him. Had there been the potential for profit in it, some enterprising fuel company might have retrofitted a tanker truck to that end. But the potential for scorn and condemnation was too high, so anybody from Brighton needing petrol had to drive the only remaining road into and out of Brighton - Travis Road - and further deteriorate and congest that lifeline.

Grant continues, making the case for encouraging composting toilets instead of plumbed ones, with property tax reductions for those making the switch. It's not a crazy idea.

Grant Rigby really needs to start a blog. I'd read it. If he ever does, I'll point you to it.

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