Why water privatization is not your friend

This is one of the clearest explanations I’ve seen as to why water privatization is a terrible idea.

Champions of privatization want to do is to take all the assets of the government and give them to private corporations to run at a profit. For example, if my local municipality has spent 100 years putting together a water supply for my community, something we paid for and we own, these fellas want to give it to some guy so he can make a profit selling me water. Sometimes the new owner is asked to make a modest investment in his new business, but seldom does that entry fee represent anything like the value of the assets that have been privatized into his care.

Formerly, water – clean, healthy water was practically a right. It didn’t matter who I was. Turn on the tap and the water flows. If it didn’t, there was hell to pay and we could vote the water commissioners, councilmen, or whoever was responsible, out of office and even demand that they be heavily fined or jailed for betraying a public trust.

Once privatized, what was our water isn’t a right anymore. It is a product. If it becomes more profitable to do something else with it than sell it to us at whatever rate the market will bear, then we’d better get used to not having any water.

But above and beyond this kind of shell game, one of the worst things these champions of privatization do is to set up the government to fail, purposefully to demonstrate to us all that government can’t do the job properly.


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