WATER: the last CORPORATE frontier
First, our MONEY supply; now, they want our WATER supply.
It's a crucial battle between PUBLIC and PRIVATE interests for control over the most essential of public trusts.
Joshua Holland reports from the WTO DOHA round in Hong Kong:
"WATER is . . . one of the last "profit centers" [for] international financial institutions and [global trade agreements may determine] whether it becomes a COMMODITY or stays in public hands."But if, like money, WATER is transformed into a for-profit commodity controlled by private interests, they will manipulate its scarcity by "tightening" its supply, just as they "tighten" the supply of money, now.
"90 percent of the world's water supplies" remain public, for now.
But, unlike money which merely facilitates exchange, we cannot live without water for more than a few days.
As it is now, because money is scarce, people kill over as little as $20.
If they gain control of the water supply, people will kill over a sip of water.
This is how the battle unfolds:
After all, why would private banks invest in PUBLIC water systems?
"Through the WTO's "coherence agreement" with the World Bank and [IMF] . . . water behemoths [like French giants, Vivendi Universal and Suez; German, RWE; and American giant, Bechtel]. . . secure loans and grants to finance . . . operations in the developing world."
Meanwhile "[the World Bank and IMF] use water privatization as a 'conditionality'" for aid to developing countries.
"[I]n general . . . African countries . . . the smallest, poorest, and most debt ridden ...[are subject to] these conditions"
Of course, in Africa "more than five million people die each year [from] poor water access."
As usual, moneylenders manufacture need by tightening the money supply and then exploit it by forcing unconscionable conditions upon borrowers.
Meanwhile, "[p]rivatization is being touted as [more] efficient . . . than public water," but has a track record from HELL.
Here are just two examples of what awaits us in a CORPORATE water world.
BTW, American Water Works Company based in NJ and operating all over the US became a wholly owned subsidiary of German based RWE in 2002.
"South Africa initiated one of five water privatization programs in 1999 . . . the brainchild of private water companies and World Bank economists."
"[millions] of South Africans had their water cut off at one time or another . . . forcing thousands of poor Africans to seek water from polluted rivers and lakes [leading] to South Africa's worst outbreak of cholera."
"Thousands [contracted] the disease and 300 died."
Privatization "was the direct cause of the cholera epidemic," said David Hemson of South Africa's Human Sciences Research Council.
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"[I]n perhaps the most infamous of the ongoing "water wars," Aquas del Tunari, a consortium of multinationals including Bechtel, was awarded a $200 million water project [in Bolivia] with an initial direct investment of $15,635.
The 40-year concession gave them a monopoly on all water in the poverty-stricken [Cochabamba.]
[T]o achieve its guaranteed 15 percent return on investment, the company insisted that privately drilled wells -- in the poorest part of the poorest country in the Americas -- be metered and the communit[ies] that relied on them be charged."
"[Water] prices for many rose 300 percent. When struggling Cochabambans received water bills equaling 30 percent of their salaries, they rioted."
"During the fighting . . . the government cut power to local media outlets and used live ammunition against [protesters], killing five."
"After weeks of intense protests, Aguas del Tunari [pulled] out of Bolivia, leaving its water system (and $35 million in debt) to the government. Bechtel then [sued] Bolivia for $25 million in "lost profits" [in] a closed-door tribunal run by the World Bank."
"Technically, [poor countries] could say no . . . [but they're] in terrible debt to the wealthy countries that run the WTO [and] World Bank, and if [they] say no [they're] screwed."
"[I]f people understood what's being negotiated here with the GATS, they'd be up in arms."
"When it comes to "free trade," the DEVIL is in the details."
"When those details include WATER-- and essential resources -- the trade debate can quickly become a struggle between life and death."
Please, help people understand what's happening, before it's too late.