Old buildings and ancient artefacts are an integral part of a nation’s heritage and culture. The preservation of such structures is essential to preserving and elucidating the history of a country. Without a sense of history, a nation is unable to learn from the mistakes and achievements of the past. In that sense, it is vital that governments take steps to allocate sufficient funds for their preservation.
Some would argue that in certain countries governments should prioritise other spending commitments, with health, education and other public services ear-marked as more essential. Undoubtedly, in the developing world, with millions of people still living in abject poverty, governments face a stark choice between helping the citizens of today and preserving elements of its history. It is often difficult to make such choices, especially in situations where civil unrest or public pressure are at risk of escalating.
Nonetheless, it is clear to me that a country that fails to adequately protect its cultural and historical heritage fails to strengthen its moral and ethical values. Historic buildings are not simply bricks and mortar; they are a symbol of the traditional values and principles of the people of the nation. To that end, government expenditure on the preservation of old buildings is an investment in the moral principles of the people.
Thus, in conclusion, I have no doubt that government expenditure should be directed unequivocally towards the upkeep of historic buildings. However, in certain economic circumstances, it may be necessary for governments to prioritise other areas of investment for the benefit of its citizens.