Firewall Economics and Water Politics JD Phillips 2-15-14
Water is one of the best examples of why Firewall Economics should be applied to the production of goods or services that involve the desperate necessities of life. Water is a desperate necessity, something you can not refuse to buy. Private, for profit, corporations should not be allowed to sell water. Water ownership, purification, and distribution should be protected from vulture capitalism by restricting water markets to the public sector.
Water is already being exploited for profit at the expense of the poor in India, and this is a model example of what will happen if water is not protected from predatory capitalism. There is nearly a private sector monopoly in US water now, with one company controlling water across many states. Imagine if a private water monopoly decided to do only what is profitable, like discontinue water distribution to rural areas where few people live. (like post office privatization), or even raise the cost of water as high as the “market would allow.” The law of supply and demand does not apply to desperate necessities. You have to buy water no matter what the price. Desperate necessities should be protected from private sector price gouging. That is what Firewall Economics is designed to do.
There is a drought right now in California. California takes a lot of water out of the Colorado river for agriculture. California is on the ocean. California should receive federal funding to make sea water desalinization cost effective. It is imperative that we research ways of making low cost water purification available to third world countries. There are cheap hand held filters now being tested. In the near future water will be more of a problem than oil. The US should publicly fund research to make clean water distribution cheaper, and then retain the technology in the public sector, rather than the usual practice of giving it to private industry to sell back to the public at a profit.