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Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World's Water Paperback – September 1, 2005
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A call to arms.... The dire scenarios laid out in this comprehensive book are truly frightening.
About the Author
Maude Barlow is the chair of the Council of Canadians, Canada's largest public advocacy organization, as well as chair of the committee on water for the International Forum on Globalization (IFG). Tony Clarke is the director of the Polaris Institute of Canada and chairs the committee on corporations for the IFG. Both live in Ottawa, Canada.
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Barlow and Clarke begin their analysis by discussing the shortcomings of many publicly-owned water systems, where the use of science and technology have overwhelmed the carrying capacity of the earth. The author's description of Mexico City literally sinking into the ground as underground water supplies are pumped to exhaustion is frightening.
But private ownership of water will not rectify the situation. If the corporations' purpose is to serve shareholder interests, the authors argue, how can anyone suppose that water resources will be managed sustainably or equitably by them? Indeed, the book provides many examples of corporate projects that threaten to deplete local fresh water supplies in order to provide (short-lived) profits for investors.
Yet, Barlow and Clarke show that schemes to transfer control to corporations are often promoted by the World Bank and other institutions that champion multinational capital investments. This should not be too surprising, as water infrastructures are not unlike other publicly-held assets that have become favorite targets of the investment community (disguised under the banner of "deregulation") in recent years.
While making a compelling case that growing corporate influence can only make a bad situation worse, the authors spend several chapters discussing how people can begin to constructively address the situation and turn it around for the better. These sections in particular are thoughtful and are obviously written by persons who have spent a great amount of time on this issue. Far from being merely a "screed" (as the reviewer from the pro-business Cahner's reviews claimed), I found the author's thoughts in these later chapters to be mature, balanced, and humane. Water, as a necessity for life, might indeed be the one issue that unites people around issues of social, economic and environmental justice.
I highly recommend this book for readers interested in learning more about an issue that will undoubtedly become increasingly important in the future.
We are at a time in history where humankind's management of water will determine what life forms live and die on the face of our earth, including other humans. What ecosystems have water to sustain their life forms; what farms receive water to produce food for our escalating populations; what suburbs and cities receive water to continue growing while quenching the thirst of their rising populations; what manufacturers receive water to produce consumer goods - will all be determined by those who control or own the rights to water.
Over the past 30 years I have read hundreds of books on water - Barlow's book is one of the best when it comes to alerting us to the dangers of monopolistic control and ownership of our earth's waters. I recommend this book to anyone who cares about their children and our human civilization. Water is one of the basic rights any human being should have reasonable access to. Without water - you cannot live. What price you are willing to pay may soon be determined by owners who live in other countries and who could care less about your so called `rights" to have water.
I see "Blue Gold" as a wake up call for all of us. It is only by being informed that we will be able to protect ourselves from being victimized.
including parts of our own, have allowed corporate interests to take over water. Examines what
happens, and to whom. Discusses the profit motive that companies have and how it affects the
distribution of water. Everyone MUST read this book. You will never assume that the water that
comes out of your faucet will always be there.
Most recent customer reviews
My friend in the US was very happy to get it.