Water Should Be Owned And Supplied By The State
Water is one of the essentials of life. Its management is needed first and foremost to provide drinking water. However there are many other uses which put strain on water supplies, particularly agriculture and industry. In most countries individuals are not able to simply collect their own from rainwater so there needs to be some kind of water infrastructure to move water from its sources to the consumers. There also needs to be the capability to clean and purify the water to make it safe for humans to drink. Waters very necessity means that there is a large amount of demand so it has obvious commercial potential but it is also a strategic resource and a basic necessity so the state could own it to ensure fairness. Should water be owned and supplied by the state?
Please cast your vote after you've read the arguments.
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Water is a human right
Water is essential for human life and it is directly related with the right to life. If water is privatized; people would have to pay to live, while a minority is making profit out of it. On 2008, The Human Rights council adopted a resolution on the right of water and sanitation. This resolution recognizes the responsibility of the governments and expresses the people’s trust in their representatives. The only way of taking this forward is to engage with this important issue and make nations to commit and perform better practices of distributing this resource all over their countries. The private industry doesn’t have the opportunities of taking the right steps to make it possible as fast as it can. The right of water is being used to make a difference in human lives and many countries have begun their sustainable projects in order to make equitable access to all.
People pay to eat, to have a roof over their heads, to get a marriage license, My point is human rights include a right to own property, to get food, to get married. Sadly many people confuse, for example, Number 17 of the universal declaration of human rights, the right to own property, [[http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/]] with having the right to get a free house. What this right really means is a right to procure or build a house, and keep it if they legally purchased it, and for it not to be taken arbitrarily.
Is very important here to make the distinction between ownership and supply. Since the motion asks that the prop. prove both should be had by the State, it's important to say that one thing is an entity (company or state) closing up every access to natural water supplies (by fencing up a river for example) or tainting it (poisoning a well), and a very different one is this same entity investing money on pipes and the technology needed to take it right to someone's tap. The first entails ownership and the second supply.
I want to say that no entity should have ownership of the water supply. They should only have the stewardship of it. They should have the right to charge others for the service of supply citizens clean, safe water right to their house tap. Citizens in turn should have the right to sue a State or company in a fair trial if and when their own right of procuring water is violated. An example of this principle in action is the lawsuit brought against the Argentinian State by the Paynemill Community. "In this case, the water supply of an indigenous community, the Paynemil Mapuche Community, in Neuquén, Argentina, had been polluted with lead and mercury by an oil company."[[http://www.righttowater.info/code/legal_4.asp]] The case shows that the government shouldn't be trusted to own the water.
Water is a health issue.
Millions of people do not have access to clean water and thousand of them die because of their lack of this resource. Water sanitation and education on this matter is a national health problem and solving this problem is a matter of states. It needs an international concern about this issue and only states are big enough to tackle the situation. The governments are more capable to create a system that can provide water to all in a long term objective.
I congratulate the prop. on correctly identifying the problems with water supply. But the analysis of why this problem can be only resolved by the State is sorely lacking. Prop. stated that governments are more capable to provide water, that only states are big enough, but fail to give evidence.
40% percent of the world's water supply is brought to people by two corporations [[http://www.righttowater.info/code/legal_4.asp]]. They are in every sense bigger than the water supply capabilities of many small countries. Evidently they are very capable as well since they are still open for business.
Saying that people need water is of course not proof that government need to tax citizens to get water to every part of the land and be the sole provider. Just as need it's not an justification for forcing everyone to have only socialized medicine and forcing part of the population to pay for others.
The ownership and distribution of water is a natural monopoly
When we talk about a natural and essential for living resource like water, distribution should be guaranteed. Private companies are not interested in common good but in market share and incomes. They tend to find the way of gaining lots of money with little investments. The people of a country can’t wait for a business to start or for a company’s decision of distributing in remote locations because it is not rentable. The state should control the whole process and distribution to make sure it gets to every single person of a country.
There is nothing natural about a monopoly. It entails the use of force. The opp. of this debate hates monopolies, be them of the state or state sponsored.
They say that people can't wait for a business to start or for a company's decision to go to remote locations. We agree, but to create a state monopoly doesn't help these people and in fact it does them a disservice. No matter how much prop says things like "production must be guaranteed", creating a monopoly doesn't guarantee anything. On the contrary it pretty much raises the possibilities that if the government won't /can't do it no other interested party will be there to provide service.
It would be like closing private schools to ensure education. Absurd.
“There is not enough water for everyone”
In 2006, the United nations report stated that “there is enough water for everyone” but the World Water Assessment Program indicates that, in the next 20 years, the quantity of water available to everyone is predicted to decrease by 30% . What this means is that water in a finite resource and one cannot play with supply and demand with something as important as water. Privatize water would be like privatize air. We need them equally and the state should provide enough for everyone.
It tend to agree with the UN: there is enough water for everyone. And there will be enough water for everyone. I do not dispute their evidence of a 30% decrease in 20 years time (but it sure would have been nice to get a quote) it sounds right since the population is going to grow and with it the demand for water. But this only means that the current sources of water are going to experience a decrease. This leaves out desalinization. An article on Scientific American [[http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-impacts-of-relying-on-desalination]] states: "To date there are about 300 desalinization plants in the United States, with 120 in Florida and less than 40 each in Texas and California. Some 20 additional plants are planned for the coast of California in the coming years..." It also leaves out taking the water from the air. What? From the air? Yes, there is an Israeli invention that: "works in three steps: first is the absorption of air's humidity, then the removal of water from a solid desiccant (silica based gel granules) which holds the water, and third, condensation." [[http://www.haaretz.com/news/israeli-company-creates-drinking-water-out-of-thin-air-1.256540]]
Even if these alternatives didn't exist, creating a state monopoly on water would fail to magically create water and it would make fresh water sources more strained. The prop says you cannot subject water to a play of supply and demand. This leaves either giving it away or heavily subsidizing it. But when people get something for free o extremely cheap tend to use it less judiciously. Its precisely the relationship between your demand and how much you pay what make a person less wasteful. Caracas is one of the most expensive cities in South America. Except when it comes to utilities [[http://www.caracaschronicles.com/node/2432]]. Venezuelan's also use more electricity per capita than any other country except Chile. The conclusion is: "The underlying picture is clear enough: as power gets cheaper relative to other goods and services, people use power ever more recklessly". [[ http://www.caracaschronicles.com/node/2423%5D%5D So the prop. idea would cause water to be wasted, just like it happens with electricity. And since we have 20 years to create widely used and cheap alternatives, it's a good idea to reduce waste.
Our health will not be in their hands
In nutrition, diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism. Dietary habits are the habitual decisions an individual or culture makes when choosing what foods to eat. Each person holds some food preferences or some food taboos, due to personal tastes or due to dietary reasons that may be more or less healthful. Due to this concern, a standardized "Nutrition Facts" label was introduced as part of regulations and in some countries became mandatory for most prepackaged food products. This was done because nobody could really trust in what they were consuming and the state had to find a way to control this. Each year, 76 million people in the U.S. get sick from contaminated food. The most common include bacteria, parasites and viruses. How could we trust that we are receiving the best product by huge powerful companies if it’s even not controlled by our representatives? Erin Brockovich just comes to our minds when we think about enterprises letting people get contaminated and trying to defend themselves just by being an important company, or what happened years ago in Venezuela with Dog Chow from Purina, where many pets where killed by food poisoning and the corporation decided to response at the very last minute. What will happen if people die because of water? Are big companies still going to defend their assets and incomes while people are intoxicated? Great countries like Scotland know the risk is too high and prefer to provide the water on their own, with their quality standards to avoid painful situation. Others should do the same. We encourage the solutions of DMZ in Korea and we are sure that without government support, particularly in this zone, it wouldn’t be possible, but Lee Sang-hyo spokesman for the Lotte Chilsung Beverage Co began which sells DMZ 2km water says "We decided on water from the DMZ because it's different and the environment there is untouched, so many people think it's clean." We are not sure that what people “think” is the best way of describing a well done product. [[ http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/09/korea-bottles-water%5D%5D
This point says that you cannot trust private companies. I do not call for users to blindly trust anyone.It's better when the public pressures suppliers, to get them to publish lab tests of their water and that the consumer groups double check them. But even state mandated test could work, maybe. I would be glad if my own state-owned water company would publish the results of the water going into my building's pipes. Many barrios in Caracas illegally connect water from the pipes to their houses, and many times the paying costumers get contaminated water because of this. Since my government needs the votes it does nothing about it. I use a filter to feel good enough about the water I pay (very little) for. The people that get contaminated by food in the US is not really of relevance. Most of those cases are of bacteria and parasites linked to the consumption of meat and the bad preparation of foods. The cases that are related to companies being irresponsible should be punished by civil suits as harshly as possible, instead of protected by lobbies.
I'm delighted that Prop. brought the example of PG&E (or for moviegoers, Erin Brockovich). In the movie you could see how Erin (Julia) goes to the Water Board of the area and how, despite sitting on documents that evidence foul play, the State employee does nothing; he is being payed to keep his mouth shut. Another infuriating thing: when the lawyers filed a suit against PG&E there were regulations that kept each victim from being able to sue the heck out of the company on his own. 300$ millions was too little. And some PG&E people should be in jail. But they're protected by the State.
On the DMZ example: sorry, but that it's about a private water bottling company, whose angle is that the water is so pure it should be on the most expensive-bottled-water list. At best this phrase: "We worked it all with the military" signals that sometimes there is need for minimal state intervention, for securing the workers' life (as it's their duty) as they work perilously close to North Korea.
About "the great country of Scotland" loving it's state owned Scottish Water, I lament prop didn't look for evidence. A short search turned out the fact that Scotland is now very less happy with it than 10 years ago [[http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/3566939.stm]], that they are arguing about semi-privatizing it and that "The current situation is probably unsustainable for Scottish Water." [[http://www.heraldscotland.com/business/corporate-sme/futures-trust-argues-for-3-5bn-privatisation-of-scottish-water-1.1041921]]
In some cases, luxuries can only be afford by state
Few things are more precious than water in sunbaked Afghanistan, where daytime temperatures can hit highs of 60 c and the Arghandab River provides irrigation and drinking water for local residents, but not Canadian soldiers at their forward operating base in Ma'sum Ghar.[[ http://thehamiltonspectator.com/News/CanadaWorld/article/809431%5D%5D After a war, many of the corporations that provide water for the citizens suffer from the attacks and fall into disrepair and it is the government that have to provide because in many cases will be the only standing up at the very end. Privatization has not been a solution for promoting capacity expansion. In fact, obtaining the political backing and general citizen support for private participation has proved to be difficult in many regions of the world. Having the resources during or after a national crisis is about extension and capacity. Offering the service and jobs for the population and privatization has been associated with the following: substantial employment reductions—freeing up resources for investment and mixed impacts on prices. In some cases, privatization is preferred over government operation; the media industry for instance, should never be run by the government, it would in fact be unconstitutional but utilities like water is a totally different story. At the bottom line, in the eyes of the people the state is the ultimate responsible” and it should have their own ways of protecting the citizens.
Regarding this example of Afghanistan, followed by this explanation
I don't think that the reconstruction was made at all by a) the Afghan state, but the US and b) that it was free from using Private companies in the reconstruction. [[http://www.afghanrc.com/]]
It's not true that
but in any case, is the prop. saying it has been a solution for promoting other good things? I wonder.
The fact that there is some resistance to privatization in some countries has no bearing on the subject of it being a good idea. And it doesn't make total state ownership a thing to do. In fact when in a country there is a small or big majority that forces all to do something, like have only one water supplier, that is called the tyranny of the masses. Of course I'm sure that if the prop. takes another look at their point they will see that it's arguing that what if everyone dislikes something it shouldn't be done. In fact it's pretty expected that if a State promises that everything will be given to you pretty much for free (if you are poor), there will be a resistance to changes in the policy.
Prop says there could be employment reductions in privatization. This is only the case of jobs that prove to be unnecesary for the company. This salaries went out of tax payer's pocket, so it's great that those cuts happen. As the prop says this frees up government resources for investment.
As debate began, the prop team pointed out the importance of water in human lives. It is is the most essential element, next to air, to human life; the body usually cannot survive longer than several days without water. People have survive a hunger strike and have last several weeks, but without water a person would only last approximately a week. Since water is such an important component to us, it would make sense that the quality of the water should be just as important as the quantity. Drinking water should always be clean and free of contaminants to ensure proper health and wellness. Basically, the consumption of clean water is a human right, as well as a health issue and team supports the complete ownership and supply to be from states. The main reason is because governments are everywhere, caring for their people and not worrying for investors, profit and income goals. This team understands the real situation with the resource. The availability of water is decreasing and the originals sources of water in the world are slowly disappearing. Until technology is accessible to everyone, governments should guaranteed the supply of water to the people. The opp team kept defending the idea that privatization was the answer of the problem, because it would give a better quality service and will have the opportunity to choose from different choices, depending on the prices the can afford. The opp insist that monopoly is not an option but already 40% of the water belong to 2 big companies. But we don´t think is as simple as that. Corporations can have access to technology and they may have better ways to get invest in it, but the reality is that the pursue a profit and when there is no business, there is no progress. States should have the option of taking some control over this possession and make it a deal for everyone needed. This problem is very important and we are dealing with it today. Maybe in a couple of years, thing will change but in the present, human lives will never loose against corporate profits. That´s why prop wan this debate.
It's great to have a supplier motivated by money OR: dollars vs. votes
The prop complains about companies being after money. I say of all the interests an entity may have in treating a user well, the best reason is money. The reason is mathematical. If a state owned water company treats a user badly (bad service, bad quality) it looses something he really cares about: votes (in the case of democracy) or maybe popularity. The thing is both democracies and dictatorships can afford to loose votes up tol a threshold of a majority or a number of people needed to overwhelm others. A democratic leader will still be in power with a small majority, which can leave out a lot of people. A dictatorship can ignore people´s needs even further (like North Korea's leader) as long as he has a monopoly of power. A company that is motivated by money and looses dollars (because of bad service, quality or too high prices) doesn't say: "well, I still have the majority with me". It's regarded as a complete loss. The CEO is fired and replaced with someone else if he shows ineptitude or contempt for profits. A bureaucrat is left on as long as he doesn't create a huge political problem for his bosses. Recently Venezuela's government inept lack of investment in the last years caused water and electricity shortages. [[http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8339247.stm]] Only after Chavez felt the impending deep drop in popularity, that he felt the necessity to intervene. [[http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1960538,00.html]]
The prop. totally agree with the issue being mathematical and points thats technological advances are needed but even the same article posted by the opp states that” As global warming heats the world, and its population continues to grow, there is less water for everyone”. At some critical point, who cares about the good service, all they need is water. Sadly, there is where Venezuela stands. Chavez’s managements are all gut driven and not well thought. He only thinks about himself but it is not the situation of every developing country. Even though the Israeli’s invention is an idea that was created thousands of years ago, how come it isn’t available yesterday? How much would it cost a normal low class family to own one before one of their kids die from an infected water disease? What if it doesn’t provide enough for a family? Will them get their money back? Don’t think so. Have you ever though why exactly are Florida, Texas and California the states investing in these purpose? To make it short, rising heat, crops, industries and population boom. Pure math. Do this investmenst have anything to do with the state. Of course. Pure poltics. [[ http://pubs.usgs.gov/wdr/#TX%5D%5D The U.S state decided in 2005 that if they didn’t invest in water, it could become a crisis in the nearly future. [[http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21494919/]] “We just passed a crossroads. The chief water sources are basically gone,” said John Mulliken, director of water supply for the South Florida Water Management District. “We really are at a critical moment in Florida history.” The desalination plants are not creating new water sources for helping other people, but trying to keep up with the demand that exists in countries like the United States. We agree on the water waste, it is also an educational issue to make people understand the importance of water efficiency and proper use, but as we said before, it is a matter of state. In less educated populations, supply and demand are concepts that are totally intuitive. If there’s no water, the next time I will save and use as much as I can because I do not know when will have it available again. It is educational but human as well. They may not understand exactly who difficult it is to provide it for them, but they surely know it is needed. Will that give less votes? Probably but if they do it right… they also deserve them.
State owning water is a frightening idea
The idea of ownership by the State of such an important thing is simply fear-inducing. Water sources property of the State! This is a bad idea if only for the mentality it would create. A better one is that natural resources are every citizen’s. The State is a server and has the minimum power it needs to protect citizens from violence, not an owner of anything. The image of a State having the power to give and take away water is one that shouldn’t be encouraged amongst citizens, they should feel that the power is in their hands. The ownership-of-water concept could end up in the government giving away a country’s water to another in other to gain influence and recognition. Of course the example that illustrates this is the way Venezuelan Government, because they “own” the oil resources, feel free to give it as a gift to the poor citizens of the world's only super-power. [[http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4461946.stm]] All the while, in Venezuela there is no money to invest to prevent water shortages. I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be any State involvement, but it should be limited by necessity. For example a country’s army needs to insure some stock of water for an emergency, a war, a natural catastrophe. I will develop more about the mixing of systems on another point. If a State is the “owner” it could forbid the uses of water that it considers frivolous, like a swimming pool. But the bureaucrats of a state are far from able to decide on what is needed or not by millions of people. A swimming pool can be both a frivolous luxury or a necessity if a wounded person needs physiotherapy. Or be the place were children spend all the extra calories from eating too much fast-food. Or a place to relax after a long day’s work. Lastly if you can give and take you can use that power for political gain. This runs the gamut from using water investments to gain popularity, to castigating opponents. For years in Venezuela, you couldn’t get a job with the government if you had voted “no” in the referendum on Chavez: “At a cabinet meeting, Chavez said his government had been using a list to determine who to hire and fire and called for an end to the practice. ``There are still places that use Tascon's List to determine who gets a job and who doesn't,'' Chavez told his ministers that day...``That's over. Bury Tascon's List. Surely it had an important role at one time, but not now.'”'[[http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=abASlsAyXgoE&refer=latin_america-redirectoldpage]]. It would be terrible to have someone's service removed because he appears on the list.
We wonder if the opp team can tell Africa where should they sign up to make Dr. Etan Bar, CEO of EWA deliver an ISRAEL21c for every citizen needed for water. Of course it would be a great idea but an utopia as well. This team understands that ownership of the resource is a highly complex definition and may cause misunderstanding. We are not suggesting giving free bottle water to everyone but the company that provides this product should be owned by the state. This condition will empower the representatives to act and response to a critical possible water situation, instead of begging some foreign company if they could help. It is not up to a state to close every single river but to build a water purification plant to provide clean water for the citizens will need a couple of doors that will remain close. The state is the designated representative to provide for their country and should be smart enough to make the decision that provides the best for them, as it happened in Cochabamba, Bolivia in 2000 [[http://www.bechtel.com/assets/files/PDF/Cochabambafacts0305.pdf]], where they privatized the industry and the cost of the resource increased more than 35% and for the record, the concession was terminated only because of the civil unrest and the state of emergency in Cochabamba and not because of any act done or not done by the international shareholders of Aguas del Tunari. The privatization gave place to a major civil manifestation and it came back to the national company. This team maintains the idea of water being a human right and transnational private enterprises care about their incomes, not the condition of the people or their capacity to pay what they ask for. They don’t put their interests in context, private companies just put their conditions like it happened with the Aguas del Tunari consortium. I suppose that during that period of confrontation, building a Rehabilitation center with tons of pools for the people would not be a smart choice. It may not be frivolous but just a little out of context. Do that gives more votes or not… who knows but it was only on the states hands to make the right decision on time, before many were killed.
State as sole supplier is a bad idea
Monopolies have many drawbacks specially when they are state monopolies. Time after time it has been shown, with few exceptions, that when the state is the sole supplier there tends to be no choice of product, no great quality service. Competition is a great thing and a way to kill it is to have only one competitor. Innovation, in service an in technology is absent from state monopolies as well. Many governments that like centralized planning, aren’t keen on innovation, since a change in the markets can upset that same planing. In a recent comparison between the websites of leading U.S. corporations and state and national governments, the researchers concluded that: “Public sector agencies generally do not have competitors and lack sufficient incentives to learn from other agencies. As a result, public agencies are largely unable to adapt to changing circumstances and unlikely to adopt new practices.” [[www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/.../06_technology_west.pdf ]] A monopoly won’t necessarily mean that it’s a successful endeavor, just that it’s the only supplier available. People in remote places won’t be necessarily helped by a monopoly, in fact by promoting the formation of many companies besides the State, you are upping the chances that they will be covered by one.
You say you are against monopolies but affirm that the 40% percent of the world's water supply is brought to people by TWO corporations. The prop. doesn’t propose to create a monopoly, we just know it is so, as you well confirmed. It IS a natural monopoly because only few have access to it. For us irt would be just perfect that everyone had access to clean and fresh water to survive but sadly it isn’t like that. We stand that the state should CONTROL the process in those cases where private industries supply the resource, to avoid speculation in emergency situations. Only by applying some control, the state could guarantee that distribution to remote locations are being done and subsidize when need it. It is a state major concern that the population is healthy and safe. Sadly, not the corporations concern. As you said above, Nationalize water would be like closing private schools to ensure education”well, If a person is not happy with their education, it is a personal decision to do something about it. There are books and people that can help them improve their knowledge. Many of the great characters of our history are well known for being self-taught, but no child in history have survive without the concern of someone in giving the water and food that is needed to live and make to a point where the child can decide by himself what does he want for his future.
A mixed system: let’s have the best of both worlds
The notion that the prop. presents, that the only way to insure that people don’t die of thirst is to create a monopoly is preposterous. I don’t deny that there are some people that need water very much and can’t afford it, but most people over the world is getting along at the very least with their basic needs. The State can certainly provide vouchers to very poor and disadvantaged people, so they can use it to pay the company. If there is a remote village that is not being covered by a water company, there are many solutions. The State could help find a solution for very sparsely populated areas. The best solution wouldn’t be to force the private water company to get them a connection to the main supply, it doesn’t matter if we are talking about a private or state owned company, to take water pipes to 10 cabins at the top of the mountain would be a waste. Maybe there is a nearer water source available. For a bigger but still remote area, the inhabitants could create a Co-op to find underground aquifers and such. In cases of a war or a natural catastrophe, there is indeed a place for State emergency intervention. The State should have an emergency water supply. We would still have the competition drive, the innovation of private companies and they could pay a tax on their revenues, making it easier for the State to actually give vouchers to people that sorely need them.
"Private funding runs into ideological problems. We need to be more humble. We have to adapt to local realities."
Surprisingly, the countries that doesn’t have a budget as big as the biggest water corporations are the most needed countries and the one that have more casualties because of this issues. Now, why is that? Why wouldn’t they go out to those small countries and provide them with the most important element in live. Let us respond to that… there is no business. "Due to the political and high-risk operations, many multinational water companies are decreasing their activities in developing countries," says a UN's world water development report. Many companies, it says, have not been able to make money and are now concentrating on less risky markets in Europe and North America.
So, if this great huge companies decide not to approach the most needed countries and only few give support to the poor governments to develop a sustainable way of managing their own way of supplying water, are we going to let this people die? You say most people over the world is getting along at the very least with their basic needs but 1 out of every 4 deaths under the age of 5 worldwide is due to a water-related disease. That is the reason they get along. There were one of the three that didn’t die and they are old enough to provide for themselves. "Water privatization in developing countries has failed. Despite this, the UK government and the World Bank insist on supporting it at the expense of the world's poor.” [[http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/mar/22/globalisation.water]]
Big government and the bad state owned and the bad private owned water companies.
Not all state owned are terrible at providing water (Canada seems to be quite content, despite recently having in Walkerton "Seven people dead. More than 2,300 people sick. More than 64 million dollars in hard costs" [[http://environment.probeinternational.org/publications/water-and-wastewater/socialists-are-all-wet-why-privatizing-water-utilities-good-public]].
Not all private companies are are perfect about it eather, when a State owned company is bad the SQ is worse if there are no alternatives. It's possible for a privately owned company (BP) to do bad things. So, you ask: if there are examples of both being sometimes bad, isn't it better to at least choose the state, because they really, really have the citizen's interest at heart instead of money? In short, nope. There are two reasons why not.
First, it´s numerically more common for countries where there is a bias for state ownership and control of water to have sub-par service and quality of water. In a study of the historical performance of public monopolies[[http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.19.6087]] it was found that
This is because of a myriad of factors, some I have explained already, as innovation, lack of interest as long as they can continue in power, wasteful hiring practices, and the harm of subsidized prices causing wasteful consumers. In most
Secondly, everything that goes badly both with state and private water companies in the SQ is related to big government, so to add to it's size by making it the owner and supplier of the water is a mistake. When a state owned goes bad its because government has the power to use water like a political pawn, as I explained in a previous point. Or because the public gets bad quality and can't compare because lack of competition. When a private water company does bad things it's caused by protectionism policies. The BP disaster gives us an example. BP is protected by the US government, in the sense that there is a negociated ammount of how much BP would pay for each gallon of oil leaked into the Gulf. BP knew that there was a top on how much it would have to pay, and probably decided to take the risk since the price 25 $, isn't as high. I say this is shameful. If victims of BP should have been able to sue for whatever they though was fair, and a jury would decide on it. Instead BP lobbyist agreed beforehand with the government on a cap. When a private actor feels protected by a government that works with lobbies and interest groups, it feels it can do as it pleases. When a smaller company can't compete because a bigger one has a lobbyist the problem is big government.
But, you ask, who will care then. Who will be there to ensure the quality and accsess to water_? Tho see that there is choice and a fair market? The consumer. He should have the power to choose.
Of course Canada is content. Not by the alarming numbers that the opp. Gladly brought to our attention but because they understand the critical situation of the resource. Former US ambassador to Canada, Paul Celluci, said once: "Canada has probably one of the largest resources of fresh water in the world." Unmentioned was America's aim - control to privatize it, Celluci saying it's "odd (that) Canada is so willing to sell oil and natural gas and uranium and coal (but) talking about water is off the table¨ The most important Prairie rivers are fed by mountain glaciers, and they're melting at an alarming rate. The British science journal, Nature, noted that "The consequences of these hydrological changes for water availability....are likely to be severe." Celluci's comment was as close as "any high-profile American (had) come to (admitting) what many Canadians have long suspected - Washington wants our water." In fact, Maclean's magazine ran a cover story arguing that Canada should sell it before America takes it. Responsible Canadians disagree. According to Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria's School of Earth and Ocean Sciences:
"Its a huge problem. These glaciers are basically toast. They won't be around by the end of the century, or they'll be around in such insignificant amounts that it won't be a big source of water. You've got to start thinking about adaptation here." Basically, they will do whatever it takes to keep it with them.
On the other hand, the US government protects BP because they allowed offshore drilling on the first place. Yes, the big governments can do something wrong but good governments take responsibility as well and provide safety to their citizens. The negociated amount that BP has to pay is for the cleanup of the shores, water and even the fauna that are victims of this disaster. Many environmentalists claim that BP have refuse the help of the Russians who have expertise on this matter and that are already balking at some of the monetary claims and the US should collect from BP the two trillion dollars now; before BP moves all their assets into another corporation and/or in-cumbers their assets to try to save themselves. Big companies can also do wrong, but the history tells us that they tend to escape or avoid their responsibilities to remain their incomes and profit. When they risk... they just can´t be trusted.
What to do with the poorest of the world?
Of course children dying of water related diseases is a tragedy. This doesn't mean that creating a water monopoly of the State in all countries, from developed to developing is any kind of a solution. In many countries, even though prices could be higher with a privatized system people will be still be able to afford the water they need. In exchange they can be taxed lower. People forget that water priced can be kept low by forcing citizens to pay high taxes.
I fully support efforts that improve conditions for poor people except those that have amongst other consequences the lowering of quality for all consumers and a hike in water consumption.
Prop uses the protest's over the privatization of in Cochabamba, Bolivia one of South America's poorest countries, as proof that water should be a monopoly of the state. They didn't read the whole report. In fact it was the municipality's failing to "launch an information campaign to inform the population of the changes that were to be implemented."[[http://www.bechtel.com/assets/files/PDF/Cochabambafacts0305.pdf]] that contributed to the unrest. As well as the
But the reason the government moved to privatization was that
Prop doesn't seem to understand the importance of the new technologies driven by capital. They say
But in Algiers, the Algerian capital, GE constructed in 2005 a huge desalination plant [[www.gewater.com/pdf/pr/20050623PR.pdf ]] that serves 25% of the city's population. On the Israeli invention, they focused instead of it being inspired by a method used in biblical times and asked: "how come it isn't available yesterday" Because dear prop, it's only inspired by the past and the technology to do it today is recent. The importance of these technologies is that as things stands today demand on fresh water is increasing and in some countries is scarce. So no matter who owns the water there is a need for innovation and as Brookings found
That is dangerous specially for the developing countries in the Middle East and Africa.
I already said I was in favor of vouchers to be used with private companies, or any other kind of help for those who need it, children and the elderly being the first on that list. But I support a help that keeps government small. Of course we can't forget the power of charity. Many people would be happy to help the poor get water and there are many private organizations that do that. Thirdly I'm in favor of richer countries collaborating with poorer ones with knowledge. This is the way to go.
As we expressed above, we also encourage and totally support technology. In fact, we promote governments to also invest in research for this matter, even if they all have to read the bible to get some inspiration but those kind of technologies wil not be available in the TV infomercials for the next couple of years… so let´s just all be thirsty until we can afford one. What about the locations that do not have the proper atmosphere humidity to produce water? Someone, and we mean the state, should provide for the people until technology is available to them. We have never said that this debate will remain the same as the tie passes by, but is a matter of precedence. We have to think of today and private companies do not have the extension to cover the whole world. In every single country, representative are present. They live their own realities and context. Understand the problem and know how to approach it. They may not have all the money to solve it but it´s their responsibility to deal with it. Companies are more than welcome to help but don´t make people suffering as an opportunity of profit. It is just wrong.
The motion in debate calls for the proposition to defend that in general, the sole owner of and provider for water should be the state. They have failed.
There is no piece of evidence they presented that I didn’t either successfully debunk or accepted and then used against the motion. Some of their points weren’t supported by analysis or evidence. They said companies can’t be trusted to justify the proposal but in their rebuttal they accepted that governments, like Venezuela’s, can’t be trusted either. They said that the government is the only proper agent because of having the budget and the political support. I demonstrated that there are huge private companies and that there is growing discontent with state monopolies and growing acceptance of privatization (like in Scotland) and that a policy’s popularity is different than it’s quality. They proved that fresh water is dwindling, but failed at explaining why that means the motion should be approved. I countered by showing how by giving away water, you could cause it to dwindle faster.
They conceded that there can be some privates amongst suppliers
Prop. contradicted itself. First they said that
And then, in another point they said
So on one hand water should be free or near free (no supply and demand games) and on the other they say they are not suggesting free bottled water. And does a bottled water company enter the category of need? No.
I provided a framework for analysis for the examples of both State being successful and privately owned companies failing: they’re isolated examples. I provided evidence that proves state owned is a bad idea because it usually fails. I explained why they usually fail. Political abuses, lack of innovation (when innovative technologies like desalination are crucial), too cheap prices creating a high demand. Also, I linked the examples of private failings to them being protected by the government’s dealings with lobbyists and pressure groups. Lastly I provided spaces the poor to still get water while keeping the quality for everyone else.
For this reasons, I think this policy should be opposed.
What do you think?