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
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.
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
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”
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
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
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.
It's great to have a supplier motivated by money OR: dollars vs. votes
State owning water is a frightening idea
State as sole supplier is a bad idea
A mixed system: let’s have the best of both worlds
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 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.
"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?
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.
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?