Water Privatization Essay

2078 Words9 Pages
There is no reservation in saying that water issues are a certainly a global phenomenon. Depending on where you are situated in the world, water concerns range from drought due to climate change to pollution and privatization. Unfortunately for us, these concerns are not mutually exclusive either. This paper, however, is focused with the ethical implications of water privatization specifically with the commodification of bottled water. Water privatization is best understood as the private sector (as opposed to the public sector) participating and competing in the acquisition, sanitation and sale of water. Essentially, turning what is public good into an economic good. Bottled water has rapidly emerged as ubiquitous international commodity due to globalization. Nestle, the largest supplier of bottle water worldwide, is often at the forefront of criticism and contention when it comes to water commodification at both the national and international scale. This approach has justifiably lead to criticisms that companies, like Nestle, prey on socially and politically vulnerable regions (or those believed to be least politically and socially resistant) for their freshwater resources and because this, it adversely affects local communities by limiting their access, increasing freshwater prices, and degrading the environment. In this paper, I will argue that the commodification of water violates the ethical principal that access to clean water is a right. I will look through two ethical lenses: utilitarianism and deontology. In order to better understand the ethical ramifications of commodification a thorough background of the effects of water commodification is necessary. As defined in the introduction water commodification is the transit... ... middle of paper ... ...hical impasse because Nestlé’s strategy has been to divert attention away from the process by which the water they utilize has been retrieved (and all the social, economic, and environmental consequences of that) and direct attention towards the “sustainability” of the product. In order to appeal to the massive environmental market of eco-labeling they claim less plastic is used in the making of the product. I am sure it has some bearing in truth. However, this relates back to Szasz’s idea of the inverted quarantine, whereby we purchase eco-labeled products that purport to help the environment rather than actually helping the environment. This again is a red herring given the aforementioned social and environmental impacts (at both the national and international scale) that arise out of the process by which the water, the fills and sells their image, is retrieved.
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