Much Ado About Water: Economist hosts debate

Is water a human right or is it a commodity? The Economist hosts a leading panel of activists, scholars, and investors as they debate the value of water as a resource.

On the pro side is Steve J. Hoffman, managing director of WaterTech Capital & co-founder of Palisades Water Index Associates. Hoffman believes, “The severe spatial and temporal imbalances in the supply of and demand for water—and safe drinking water in particular—dictate that water be priced at the true market value in order to resolve our global water challenges.”

On the con side is Vandana Shiva, director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology & Natural Resource Policy. Shiva believes, “There is clearly no reliable “market price” in a volatile world driven by greed and profits, with no social regulation. The idea that the management and distribution of and access to a scarce and vital resource like water can be left to the market—and that the market can assign a reliable price reflecting the real value of water—is both absurd and irresponsible.”

Today’s featured participant, the Pacific Institute’s Peter Gleick, says the dichotomy is false. “Water is both a human right and an economic good and we must learn how to balance these characteristics,” he comments.

The debate is ongoing until the 10th of October. Participate in the debate here.

Source: Economist

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