The Instigator
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The Contender
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8 Points

ODT: Water Privatization

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/20/2012 Category: Economics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,399 times Debate No: 24800
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)




1st round is for acceptance



I accept :D
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate.

Water privatization is a short-hand for private sector participation in the provision of water services and sanitation, although sometimes it refers to privatization and sale of water resources themselves[1]


Water Privatization is often labeled as a highly controversial topic. Many opponents of the action raise points about Privatization decreasing economic efficiency, or that water is considering a God-given innate right and should not be treated as an economic resource. The most debated point is that Water privatization hurts the environment. I will address these point as my main contentions throughout this debate.

Contention One-Economic Efficiency of Water Privatization

Private companies are simply out to make profit. While this may seem non-caring initially, It actually is actually a positive way of working. Since the private company is out to make a direct profit, all business decisions affect the company in a positive(Profit) of negative(No Profit) manner. This spurs the private companies to invest more in the private water market, specifically better water infrastructure and improved water systems. If these systems turn out superior then not only will the people most likely frequent the private company's water product/service. Government based services are not out for any profit. While this sounds great, this means that their decisions don't actually affect their economic outcome. So thus, there is no motivation to innovate or provide a good product/service.

Another great point about the economic efficiency of water privatizations is that market competition between rival private companies will naturally lower. Because consumers have a choice between the rivals each which seek to establish a balance between a low cost product and a well made product. Whichever product/service is more appealing to the people, that company will succeed. Government based water service don't have the luxury of having to compete, as they are backed by a Government entity.

Contention Two-Water should be treated as an economic good not as a fundamental right

"The idea of 'water as an economic good' is simple. Like any other good, water has a value to users, who are willing to pay for it. Like any other good, consumers will use water so long as the benefits from use of an additional cubic meter exceed the costs so incurred."[2]- "Water as an Economic Good" The World Bank 1996

Usually rights are considered to ideals that are protected by the governments, that we can often discuss and make decisions over. Rights were not meant to be items that can be contained. When this happens the said item can now be considered to be an economic good.

Another reason water should not be a fundamental right is the burden is puts on the already strained government to provide for the people. With governments worldwide being abused for breaking their respective social contracts with the people(Constitutions and such) and causing human rights violation this adds a new twist to the social contract. Now the government actually has to provide an item the human eye can see. So what happens if the government cannot provide water to the people? Should the people revolt? Should the government say sorry? This is the a valid problem with water being an right. Again, private companies have the obligation to provide water to, but if the people are dissatisfied then all they have to do is find another company that will cater to their needs.

Contention Three-Water privatization is good for the environment

Due to companies wanting to maximize profits for the longest amount of time possible ,many take strides to innovate and find more environment efficient ways to produce a product that does not harm their future product. Also, if the public does not agree with a company whose policies harm the environment, then they are free to boycott the product and seek more environmentally efficient companies. This checks the companies into making sure the have the best interests at their(private company) and the people's heart.

The government usually regulates the environmentally based regulation of most private companies. What the government fails to bring to light is the fact that

A-These regulations only apply to private companies and not government based ones.

B-If the regulations apply to government based companies then the requirements can be changed by the government.

This gives government based water companies a "One-up" over the people.


With privatization there is a series of checks and balances that are directly dependent upon the Consumer. Having a government based water system takes out the direct power of the people to determine what a good product/service actually is.

Thank you. I now open the floor to the con.






==My opponent's arguments==

C1: Economic Efficiency of Water Privatization

My opponent attempts to make the argument that competition and the free market will naturally force private companies to become more efficient.
However, one example of this being false would be England's attempt at water privatization. In 1997, a serious outbreak poisoned people in Northern London because of the failing quality of water [1]. The DWI (Drinking Water Inspectorate) concluded that private companies were failing to enforce the given standards in England [1]. Throughout the time when water was privatized, water mains in England were categorized in a bad state [1].
Pro also notes that private companies are out trying to make a profit. This is not a good thing, as there is a direct correlation between increasing water prices and increasing profits [1]. Companies will try to make more and more money, at the expense of those who can't pay. In England, prices rose by 50% within 4 years. In the end 1/5 households in England are in debt to private water sources [2].

C2: Water is an economic good, not a right

Water is necessary for all life on Earth, which includes humans. People will always need water to survive, whether they like it or not. My opponent's quote is flawed in the sense that consumers will always use water, since the benefits from using it (which is living) will outweigh any possible cost. This means that privately provided water is basically charging people to live.

The differentiation that Pro is trying to make between water and "ideals" is ridiculous. The general ideals such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness all require a person to be alive before they can value the ideals. It's the government's job to protect our inherent rights, such as life. Life requires food. Hence, the government provides food stamps. Life also requires water. Therefore, the government should provide water.

Now, the next argument that my opponent brings up is that providing public water utilities might be too much for a government. Now, if that's an issue, then reaching out to the international community and NGO's is always an opportunity.
Furthermore, poor governments naturally are likely to also be weak, and possibly corrupt. How do you expect profit-seeking private companies to abide to the standards - even in England some have failed to. The issue of exploitation and free reign by the companies is also possible. Higher costing water will further hold back to poor, and in succession weaken the entire country. A smart, dependable government would try its best to provide water to its struggling people.

C3: Water Privatization is good for the environment

In this contention, my opponent states that companies will always be interested in protecting the future, which will encourage private water companies protect the environment. A direct counter-example would be how two large private companies have actually supported fracking, which increases the profit for these companies but risks the health of everyone [3]. Private companies, like always, will attempt to reduce the costs involved, but maximize the gain. The value of the environment is incalculable, and when compared to the possible gains of exploiting the environment - the answer of the companies is evident.

Finally, Pro points out how governmental organizations don't have to follow the same rules as private companies.

A- Some regulations apply to private, but not governmental organizations
This is necessary, as the nature of private companies is to make profit, not to help the entire society.

B- If regulations apply to government companies, then these requirements can be changed
I don't see how this is important, as any sort of "requirement" can be changed by the government.

Privatizing water is a dangerous idea. Allowing money-seeking companies to exploit people, the environment, and possibly even governments is not what we want.

I might possibly add some arguments to my own position next round, but my opponent already covered most of the ground that I wanted to argue.


Debate Round No. 2


I'm sorry, but I won't be able to finish this debate.
Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by vmpire321 4 years ago
xD sure
Posted by Cobo 4 years ago
Thank gawd, it's short!
Can we try to keep it short? Or at least an easy read?
Posted by vmpire321 4 years ago
good ol procrastination
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by LaissezFaire 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.
Vote Placed by baggins 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit