Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Revolt Against the Privatization of Public Goods: Water

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/cochabamba_the_water_wars_and_climate_change_20100420/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Truthdig+Truthdig%3A+Drilling+Beneath+the+Headlines

Clean, fresh water is predicted to be the "gold" of the 21st century. The World Bank and IMF have for decades attempted to force developing nations receiving loans to "privatize" their water, which basically means that private interests get to "own" public goods.

In Bolivia a revolt was staged against the private exploitation of a national, natural public resource:

"Bolivian President Evo Morales calls Cochabamba the heart of Bolivia. It was here, 10 years ago this month, that, as one observer put it, “the first rebellion of the 21st century” took place. In what was dubbed the Water Wars, people from around Bolivia converged on Cochabamba to overturn the privatization of the public water system. As Jim Shultz, founder of the Cochabamba-based Democracy Center, told me, “People like a good David-and-Goliath story, and the water revolt is David not just beating one Goliath, but three. We call them the three Bs: Bechtel, Banzer and the Bank.” The World Bank, Shultz explained, coerced the Bolivian government, under President Hugo Banzer, who had ruled as a dictator in the 1970s, to privatize Cochabamba’s water system. The multinational corporation Bechtel, the sole bidder, took control of the public water system...."

Americans and others around the world should look to this type of revolt as inspiration for resisting the privatization and exploitation of public resources.

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