Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Beware of Water Wolves in Economist's Clothing

As we move from one mega issue to the next, the water wizards are lining up to tell you how to price water to penalize water wasters and gluttonous guzzlers.

Today I received a notice about a upcoming two-week event sponsored by the Economist debating water as commodity versus that of an inalienable human right.

The Economist
’s online debate on the subject:

It’ll be a two-week long, Oxford-style online debate on the topic of the global water crisis. As both an industrial input and a prerequisite of life, water has become extremely scarce for roughly a billion people who do not have a constant supply of clean and safe water.

The exact proposition is, “This house believes that water, as a scarce resource, should be priced according to its market value.” Some of the issues the debate will cover include: Would water supplies be better managed if it were treated as a commodity, and priced accordingly? Or is water a basic human right that governments should secure for their citizens?

Arguing for the proposition: Stephen J. Hoffmann, founder and president of WaterTech Capital, a merchant and investment banking firm that specializes in serving the myriad of companies that, in aggregate, comprise the water industry, and co-founder of the Palisades Water Indexes.

Arguing for the opposition: Dr. Vandana Shiva, author of Water Wars and founder of Navdanya, an Indian-based, non-governmental organization founded to protect nature and people’s rights to knowledge, biodiversity, water, and food.

Links to additional posts were also listed, authored primarily by David Zetland:

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