Many people, including some who generally support free market principles, consider water to be a human right. To be fair, it is a natural resources that is every bit as important to life as oxygen, which is, of course, free. The overwhelming majority of people in the First World take it for granted, and those in America enjoy potable water flowing into their homes, something that even those living in some other First World countries could scarcely imagine. Why, then, when most of the water supplied to American homes is supplied from public utilities, would anyone consider having private companies control the water supply a good idea?
There are several reasons, but they generally boil down to what Garrett Hardin described as “the tragedy of the commons.” What that means is that if everybody is responsible for something, nobody is responsible for it. In order for people to have reliable, clean drinking water, someone must not only finance the collection, purification, and supply of it, but must also have an incentive for doing so.
“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.” – Milton FriedmanThe tragedy of the commons has been seen in many cases before, not the least of which was the first winter that the Pilgrims spent in New England. When they came to America, they intended to create their own Utopia. They shared everything, including possessions, land, and labor equally. As a result, they almost starved to death. There were no incentives to work hard, as everyone would get the same result. When they divided up the land the following year, they enjoyed a bountiful harvest.
Everything you thought you knew is wrong! Of course we have a great deal of information on the first white settlers here; we know they survived partly on the stores of recently-dead Native Americans and would have died off from sickness and malnutrition if more Native Americans had not kept them alive. But the truth is no longer important; who cares if people lie to win? Doh, that's how you win! You can bank on it!
This joker is a nobody, not a minor media star, so there is no reason to add him to the route but he's just precious.
About the Author
Sean McConeghy is originally from New York City. He currently lives in Roatan, Honduras, where he splits his time between freelance writing and working as an associate of Worldwide Bullionaires.
Of course he is.