The cover image on the October 18 Newsweek is very splashy body of water and the words: LIQUID ASSET: Big Business and the Race to Control the World’s Water. I am a little afraid that by the time Newsweek considers something like this front page news, the takeover of water has already taken place. In some sense that’s true, the author notes: trends toward privatization are up and people in the industry see it is inevitable. Newsweek appears to agree with the UN that water is a human right, concedes that it’s running out, and calls on business and governments to work together to solve the multiple, interlocking problems of infrastructure, equity, and a clean environment.
The article skirts the ownership issue, which would have a huge impact on the kinds of businesses that would be involved in water issues. If, for example, water belongs to “us all” or “the government” then businesses have opportunities to create efficient systems for delivering water, safely, to all people. If, on the other hand, water can be owned, and purchased and packaged in the name of making a profit, then we are in very deep shit indeed.
It does not seem rational to entrust a necessity of life to a legal fiction dedicated to making a profit above all else.