The Instigator
wierdman
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
merciless
Con (against)
Losing
6 Points

water be considered a public good and not be privatized

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
wierdman
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/15/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,189 times Debate No: 17919
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (14)
Votes (5)

 

wierdman

Pro

The debate will go in the following order:

Round one: Intro

Round two: main round/ Case

Round three: CX

Round four: conclusion.
merciless

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
wierdman

Pro


Thank you.

Debate: Water privatization
Should water be considered a public good and not be privatized?

Water is a human right, not a commodity: Water is the most crucial substance in a human life. Being an aqueous creature, we need water to survive because it serves as a fuel to our body. This argument centers on the point that water should be considered a human right, the most fundamental right in the United States is the right to life. Since we as human beings need water to survive and maintain a stable health, it is necessary that we preserve water as a human right. If we alow the privatization of water, these companies will not able to provide water to all individuals as they are most likely to use water as a way to boost there economic status in other words "make more money". This is why the government must secure water through public ownership and distribution. In terms of commodity, water cannot be seen as a commodity rather it should be seen as a right. Water unlike all commodities has no alternatives making water the most unique substance of all. Water should be seen as a right because like i mentioned earlier, humans need water in other to survive.
SUB POINT: culture
The idea of water privatization brings up protest among the public showing that water has a private place in the human society. If we look back in history, we find most civilization grew up near water, we also find that water serves as a symbolic substance to all humans and species. To Christians and many other religion water symbolizes life and rebirth.
"Water and Culture. There has already been a great deal of attention given to forming a link between and reconciling the environmental and economic needs for water, with due consideration for the survival requirements of different species, including our own. While these are important considerations, it is also crucial not to forget another, ancient dimension to water - that of the significance of water to culture. Civilizations have always evolved close to and developed along waterways, and water is highly symbolic to all peoples, whether as a vital source of transport and communication, as to the indigenous peoples of the Amazon or for Russians along the Volga, or for its purifying role, as exemplified by the significance that the Ganges holds the Hindu civilization which has developed in its basin. Water is also universally recognised as the source of all life, a belief that is held most fervently by peoples in arid regions. It is for this reason that the abuses which have been inflicted on water and watercourse should be, and increasingly are, considered unacceptable and a major indication of the urgent need for us to change our behavior and priorities." {1}
"the intrinsic value of the Earth's fresh water precedes its utility and commercial value, and therefore must be respected and safeguarded by all political, commercial and social institutions." {2}
Source:
1}http://webworld.unesco.org...
2}Global backlash: citizen initiatives for a just world economy By Robin Broad (book)

Companies are incapable of securing the right to water: The fact that companies care more about the profit they make over the needs of an individual should not be explained as it is logical. We have seen this in many cases such as that insurance companies and many fast food restaurants. This statement does not mean that all companies are ignorant towards the needs and happiness of the public rather there economic priorities are much higher than that of there public priorities. Privatizing water would mean that individuals will need to pay the amount the companies have set just to gain there water needs. Since water is a vital part of human life, the individuals would have no choice but to pay the price. Companies can sometimes increase there price range dramatically just to increase there profit leaving public no control over the price of water. This is a problem because if an individual cannot afford to pay for water, they are then forced to move due to thirst or stay and die of dehydration. This significantly alters the basic rights of the individual because there right to life has been limited and there right to happiness destroyed.
Steve Egan, Public Works Corporate Consultant interviewed in "Watter Warriors" 2007 documentary. - "[It's easy to think we need to have] compassion for the people [of..Highland Park, Michigan], but the business responsibilities I think limit how compassionate we can actually be." {3}
Maude Barlow & Tony Clarke. "Who Owns Water?" The Nation. September 2nd, 2002 - "The commodification of water is wrong -- ethically, environmentally and socially. It insures that decisions regarding the allocation of water would center on commercial, not environmental or social justice considerations. Privatization means that the management of water resources is based on principles of scarcity and profit maximization rather than long-term sustainability. Corporations are dependent on increased consumption to generate profits and are much more likely to invest in the use of chemical technology, desalination, marketing and water trading than in conservation." {4}
Source:
3}
4} http://www.ratical.org...

Private ownership of water can threaten public health and citizen rights: While many argue that private ownership can be the most resourceful way, this has not proven itself to be true. Privatization of a natural element such as water could lead to public chaos. public health could be in jeopardy if water were to be privatized as many will not be able to afford the price that these companies have set.

Economics: Like i mentioned in my previous contention, water privatization often lead to the increase of price that could resolve to three to four prices higher than the public ownership price. The companies are increasing there profits from the amount of money they make from the privatization of water. This might lead to various problems as different water companies might charge different prices coursing the public to riot for a decrease in water price. The public however cannot pocket the price of water. Privatization is much efficient for these private companies as they are the ones who gain from this act leaving the public who pay for the water at a disadvantage. For these companies to reach there marked profit, they have to sell as many gallons of water as they possibly can.These companies no longer have the incentive to conserve water resources. This can lead to many implications in regard to the environment, economy, as well as other species that depend on water for survival. These companies pumping as fast the possible could thus coursing a scarce in water which could lead to a spike in water prices.
Murray Dobbin. 'COUNTERPOINT: Water: right or commodity?" The National Post. February 8, 2001 - "In February, 1999, the World Bank told the mayor of Cochabamba that if the city did not privatize its water system it would not receive another cent of financial assistance for local water development. Then, after judging the resulting Misicuni privatization project financially unviable, the Bank proceeded to back it anyway, insisting on water pricing that would cover the excessive costs, and guarantee that Bechtel would earn a 16% profit.
Water prices for many locals tripled, meaning some people were paying 20% of their income for water. In a scenario impossible to parody, people not even hooked up to the system were told that they would have to put metres on their private wells and pay Bechtel for the water they drew." {5}

Source:
5} http://www.mindfully.org...
merciless

Con

While water is the source of life, it does not come free of charge. For this reason I support the privatization of water.

Contention 1: no economic difference between public and private

For water to be fit for human consumption, it must be purified to remove all the toxins and parasitic creatures that inhabit it. This purification process is not free of charge, and thus we do not get our water free of charge whether we get our water from the government or from a private business. If we get water from a private business, we get a monthly water bill. If we get our water from the government, we get an increased monthly tax rate.

Thus there is no real economic difference between getting our water from the government and getting our water from a private company. We might as well keep the status quo and have private companies provide us with water.

Contention 2: private companies will continuously better purifying technology

Private companies are motivated by economic profit. One of the best ways to ensure economic profit is to make one's product better than the competition's. Water companies are continuously researching ways to make water cheaper, cleaner, tastier, and more accessible than the competition, ensuring that the quality of our water continuously gets better. That would not happen if our government supplied us with water, since the government does not make money off of water, and thus would not be motivated to improve its quality.

Contention 3: water is affordable

The Cochabamba incident was a scandalous incident of corruption, but we must remember that such cases are rare, since otherwise there would be revolts everywhere protesting the price of water. Bechtel Corp was able to charge very high prices for water because of a) lack of competition, and b) backing from the World Bank. While the incident proves that the World Bank and Bechtel Corp are corrupt, it does not prove that business in general is corrupt and cannot provide water at affordable prices. In the US, 1000 gallons of water cost $1.50 [1] and we can expect similar prices elsewhere.

Sources:
[1] http://www.fcwa.org...
Debate Round No. 2
wierdman

Pro



I thank my opponent for his quick response.

My opponent centers his argument on the fact that water doesn't come free and the fact that privatization does not pose any economic difference from public ownership. In this round, i will try to prove my opponents argument wrong and try to defend my own case.

"For water to be fit for human consumption, it must be purified to remove all the toxins and parasitic creatures that inhabit it. This purification process is not free of charge, and thus we do not get our water free of charge whether we get our water from the government or from a private business"


I agree with the term that water does not come free due to purification; however, my opponent failed to realize that the money we pay to the government does not go to the governments pocket rather it is used to help the public in every way possible. If water were to be privatized, we would have to pay about three times as much money as we pay the government and the money we pay go straight to the shareholder and not for the benefit of the public. The fact that this water needs to be purified, adds more money to the bill that we have to pay these companies thus making the bills inconstant to the water usage of the individuals.

"Murray Dobbin. 'COUNTERPOINT: Water: right or commodity?" The National Post. February 8, 2001 - "In February, 1999, the World Bank told the mayor of Cochabamba that if the city did not privatize its water system it would not receive another cent of financial assistance for local water development. Then, after judging the resulting Misicuni privatization project financially unviable, the Bank proceeded to back it anyway, insisting on water pricing that would cover the excessive costs, and guarantee that Bechtel would earn a 16% profit.
Water prices for many locals tripled, meaning some people were paying 20% of their income for water. In a scenario impossible to parody, people not even hooked up to the system were told that they would have to put metres on their private wells and pay Bechtel for the water they drew.

(http://www.mindfully.org...) (http://news.bbc.co.uk...)

Contention two:

private companies will continuously better purifying technology

"Private companies are motivated by economic profit. One of the best ways to ensure economic profit is to make one's product better than the competition's."



This might be true but the money used to improve these technologies still comes from the public. By advancing there technologies, they are moving forward but they also need the budget needed for the advancement; budget that comes from the high bills payed by the consumers. Not to mention the fact that there is no need to improve the purifying technology used by the government, it has served the United States citizen for quite a while and is very efficient if you ask me.

Contention three: water is affordable


My opponent provides me with a case in which privatization of water resolved to the corruption of the company. My opponent; however, failed to provide me with a scenario in which the privatization of water showed a positive outcome.

CX


1.if water were to be privatized, will its price be low enough for all citizen of the United States to afford?
2. where does the income made by companies go (please give me a source)?
3. Will the bills payed by the public be consistent with their water usage? (please cite)
4. what are the environmental benefits of the privatization of water (please cite)

Thank you.

merciless

Con

Answers to my opponent's questions:

1. I don't see why not. There are several private water companies (such as the American States Water Company) that co-exist with the government's water department. Their prices would have to be similar to the water department's in order to compete.

2. I would think this question is irrelevant to the debate. True, taxes paid to the government translate to public welfare, while bills paid to a company go to the company's employees/shareholders, but in either case you are trading money for the things that you need.

3. "Will the bills payed by the public be consistent with their water usage?" Assuming that the private companies in question are in US, I would say that there would have to be a fixed rate on water in order for the company to survive. If water companies were as corrupt as Bechtel, they would quickly lose their customers to the Water Department.

My opponent asks me to cite a source. I would like to ask him how one searches whether bills payed by the public are consistent with their usage. If he cannot answer this question satisfactorily, ignore his request for a source.

4. Well, to start off with they conserve water (www.jpost.com/Sci-Tech/Article.aspx?id=208593). Also, bottled water industries promote recycling (evidence is printed on water bottles).

CX: Main round

1. Explain how the fact that companies are motivated by economic profit means that they cannot provide affordable water to all individuals.

2. True, water is a right, but is purified water a right?

3. Explain how the relationship between culture and water is relevant to this debate.

4. How often does a water company dramatically increase the price of water?

CX: CX

1. "...the money we pay to the government does not go to the governments pocket rather it is used to help the public in every way possible." Really, so government officials don't need to be paid? Water department employees work for free? The cost of purifying and transporting water is nil? As you can see, many of the expenses related to water are the same for public and private. There is thus no real economic difference between getting your water from a public or private source. My opponent claims that "we would have to pay about three times as much money as we pay the government", but this is derived from an extreme case of corruption, and not from his experience or from a reliable source.

2. "...the money used to improve these technologies still comes from the public. By advancing there technologies, they are moving forward but they also need the budget needed for the advancement." Very true, but it would be the same if the government was advancing these technologies. The private sector has more incentive to advance these technologies because of competition, as mentioned before.

2a. "...there is no need to improve the purifying technology used by the government." I'm sure that was the mind-set of the general public before cars were made. 'We don't need to improve our transportation. Our horse-drawn carts have served us for quite a while and are very efficient if you ask me'.

3. "My opponent; however, failed to provide me with a scenario in which the privatization of water showed a positive outcome." See my Jerusalem Post source from my answer to my opponent's question 4.
Debate Round No. 3
wierdman

Pro


I would like to thank my opponent for posting.

"I don't see why not. There are several private water companies (such as the American States Water Company) that co-exist with the government's water department. Their prices would have to be similar to the water department's in order to compete."



This was my opponents answer to my first question. My opponent obviously did not watch the video that i provided because if he did then he would have known that the cost of water when privatized does not match the cost of public controlled water.

"True, taxes paid to the government translate to public welfare, while bills paid to a company go to the company's employees/shareholders, but in either case you are trading money for the things that you need."



My opponent agrees that the money paid to these companies, goes to the shareholders. This statement supports my case as it shows that the money we pay to these companies are used for the sole purpose of increasing there profit and
which would lead to the dramatic increase in prices.

" Assuming that the private companies in question are in US, I would say that there would have to be a fixed rate on water in order for the company to survive. If water companies were as corrupt as Bechtel, they would quickly lose their customers to the Water Department."



ones again, i refer my opponent to the video presented in my first case as it shows that the privatization of water does not care for the needs or capabilities of the public but for the companies economic welfare. i would alsoi like my opponent to listen to the statement made in the beginning of the video by Steve Egan corporate consultant, public work "we have the compassion for the people, but the business responsibilities limits how compassionate we can actually be"
I still need evidence that supports your answer (i did cite a source that you neglected (the video))

"Well, to start off with they conserve water (www.jpost.com/Sci-Tech/Article.aspx?id=208593). Also, bottled water industries promote recycling (evidence is printed on water bottles)."



I advice my opponent to read the whole article when citing a source.
"He said that the price for the Mekorot national water company of a cubic meter of water was NIS 3.1, including VAT, whereas the price for households was NIS 9.5. Avnon said that returning control to the local authorities would shave NIS 3 off the price." (http://www.jpost.com...). This article supports my case that states that public ownership saves more money and is more environmentally friendly.

"Also, bottled water industries promote recycling (evidence is printed on water bottles)."



My opponent failed to realize that bottled water companies are not the same as private water companies (regarding the public main water usage) He also failed to realize that individuals are advised to reduce there bottled water usage due to the environmental toll.

"According to a 2001 report of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), roughly 1.5 million tons of plastic are expended in the bottling of 89 billion liters of water each year. Besides the sheer number of plastic bottles produced each year, the energy required to manufacture and transport these bottles to market severely drains limited fossil fuels. Bottled water companies, due to their unregulated use of valuable resources and their production of billions of plastic bottles have presented a significant strain on the environment"

(http://www.allaboutwater.org...)

CX Answers
1.

"Explain how the fact that companies are motivated by economic profit means that they cannot provide affordable water to all individuals.



Ans: I never said this, i simply stated that water privatization will increase the prize of water three to four times over the governments prize. If you want to interpret this as so then you can.

2.

" True, water is a right, but is purified water a right"



Ans: Yes, purified water is an indirect right as it is the governments obligation to provide its citizens with an healthy option.

3.

"Explain how the relationship between culture and water is relevant to this debate."



Ans: This is relevant to the debate as it shows that water plays a major role in human life and cannot be messed as other substance."

4.

" How often does a water company dramatically increase the price of water?"



Ans: As often as they see the need to.

Conclusion

For the reason that i have answered all my opponents questions as well as counter all his point, i urge you to vote for me. I will also like to point out that my opponents cards has proven to support my case.

Thank you.

merciless

Con

My opponent relies on extreme cases where the government is forced to allow a monopoly to a certain water company. In his video, and in the Cochabamba incident, the local governments needed money. These cases prove that business without the restricting hand of competition can be very corrupt and insensitive. However, the vast majority of water companies have to compete with other water companies, and thus charge low rates for water.
My opponent's examples therefore show not that the privatization of water is evil, but that no one company (not even one run by the government) should be put in charge of everyone's water. Thus we should not discourage the privatization of water, but encourage it and create a lot of competition. Competition ensures that prices will be kept low and that quality will continue to increase.

My opponent claims that privatization of water will make prices triple, but this would only happen if a certain water company suddenly got a monopoly. Plus, with the average rate in the US being about a quarter of a cent per gallon, a tripled price means almost nothing. Even if you use a lot of water, there is no way you can use more than 1000 gallons a day, which means with a tripled price you would spend no more than $4.50 on water a day. With minimum wage being almost $7 an hour, $4.50 is very affordable.

Of my opponent's points, only one can be said to apply to the general public, and not to a few isolated cases. Water is the foundation of life; without it nothing can survive. But that doesn't mean that purified water is a natural right. Developing nations in Africa live on water straight from a water hole. Purified water is a privilege that only the wealthiest of nations can enjoy. It is not a right, but a commodity.

Conclusion:

All of my contentions stand intact. My opponent's points either apply only to specific cases, or cannot be applied in the context of this debate.
Debate Round No. 4
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by tiscooler 6 years ago
tiscooler
This debate screwed up the formatting on the front page for all other debates >_<
Posted by Man-is-good 6 years ago
Man-is-good
@To Orele_Ele, I thought so too...But then I was reassured when I quickly shifted to another debate page....
Posted by Ore_Ele 6 years ago
Ore_Ele
FYI, did not read the debate because the font was too annoying, sorry.
Posted by Ore_Ele 6 years ago
Ore_Ele
I thought my computer was freaking out.
Posted by Man-is-good 6 years ago
Man-is-good
Why yellow and red?
Posted by mongeese 6 years ago
mongeese
...Why? Why yellow?
Posted by freedomsquared 6 years ago
freedomsquared
Colors...hurt...eyes
Posted by wjmelements 6 years ago
wjmelements
html tag in opening round causes cursive all over the page and probably causes page to be yellow also.
Posted by wjmelements 6 years ago
wjmelements
wtf yellow
Posted by XStrikeX 6 years ago
XStrikeX
Something wrong with DDO?
All the debates before this one have the same ugly font, too.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by curious18 6 years ago
curious18
wierdmanmercilessTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I can't read this.
Vote Placed by darkhearth 6 years ago
darkhearth
wierdmanmercilessTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro tackled all of con's pint as well as dug holes to destabilize Con's case. con also made a lot of grammar errors
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
wierdmanmercilessTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro apparently introduced the unreadable font. Rendering a debate unreadable is a conduct violation. Since his arguments cannot be read, he cannot win arguments.
Vote Placed by randolph7 6 years ago
randolph7
wierdmanmercilessTied
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Vote Placed by shooterboss 6 years ago
shooterboss
wierdmanmercilessTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Debate is completely illegible.