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'Privatization Is Not the Answer': Grave Warnings as Wall Street Vultures Circle Puerto Rico's Water System


#1

'Privatization Is Not the Answer': Grave Warnings as Wall Street Vultures Circle Puerto Rico's Water System

Jake Johnson, staff writer

Previous attempts by Wall Street financiers and government officials to privatize Puerto Rico's water system have produced "disastrous results," but private equity vultures are exploiting the death and destruction caused by Hurricane Maria to plow ahead with yet another privatization effort—one that environmentalists warn could


#2

The vultures have been squeezing the PR economy for decades with austerity just so they could do this kind of thing. Then Maria hastened the process with disaster capitalism.


#3

Yes, and our community owes a debt of gratitude to Naomi Klein for so clearly laying out the detailed mechanics of disaster capitalism, if not possibly also for coining the term. Through her work many of us were able to foresee the vultures long before they came to roost. Unfortunately, the neoliberals have a large and experienced army of evil to do their bidding. I would love to be more optimistic, but the commons is too much of a prize for avarice to ignore. It’s an old story.


#4

’illegal’ access to water

This is Orwellian as we cannot live without water and it is a public good for all species. It is a criminal mindset caused by the capitalist maelstrom of inhumanity and greed.

We must rise to fight this.


#5

They should use cisterns as many island people do. It costs practically nothing and the water quality is good. One small city here did that, sold the interest in their water for improvements and all they got was outrageously large bills for it. They eventually bought back their water.


#6

The cost will be shared with the citizens, which will not get the profit but will suffer if it goes wrong. This takes away some of the incentive for the company to do their best work. If it fails they do not absorb all of the cost. I would prefer private but the chimera of state and corporation will be worse than either alone


#7

Clean, affordable, safe water is central to the General Welfare.


#8

keep it simple, you can’t industrialize an island on the path of hurricanes. Well, unless you have a lot of money and like to build things.


#9

#10

Excellent article

I can’t help but notice how urban environments are designed to restrict and misuse water. We have to start seeing water as a public good not a commodity.

Thanks


#11

There are two different principles of water rights in the U.S.
In the eastern states water and land are linked.
In most western states, with a lot of irrigation, water rights are separable from land rights. In drought years, senior water rights holders have first rights to the water, and junior holders have their water cut off. It may not be that Big Government has the senior rights; government is simply enforcing the rights that the senior holders have.

To illustrate in a manner easier to understand, Mexico by treaty has a right to x amount of acre-feet of water from the Colorado River, even though Mexico contributes next to nothing to the flow of the Colorado. In a drought year junior water rights holders in the USA have to do without water so that Mexico and Mexicans can get the water they are entitled to.

For another view, check out the novel ‘The Milagro Bean Field War’ which is about someone in New Mexico taking water that they don’t have a legal right to.


#12

I can’t approve of southern Californian backyard swimming pools, or growing Kentucky blue-grass lawns in a semi-desert or drier landscape.

For another view, apparently Albuquerque NM does one thing right. I know a woman who lives there who tore out her lawn and replaced it with gravel and sand rather than spend money on the water bills to water her lawn.

And news elsewhere which might have gotten reported in articles on this site: Cape Town South Africa has mismanaged its water for so long that earlier than year they were staring at D-Day, when water to all customers and their taps would be cut off, and residents would have to go to distribution centers to collect a ration of water.


#13

So you don’t have the right to water that falls on your head.


#14

There is a difference between having a legal right or not having a legal right, and anyone’s ability to police your violations of it. As witness the number of people who drive faster than the speed limit (which caused the lawmakers to scrap the 55 mph speed limit), make right turns on red lights (lawmakers legalized some of that) or smoke marijuana (now being legalized).

In this instance, no one can stop you from tipping your head back, opening your mouth and drinking in the water.


#15

Thanks, I’ll try that.