What, psychologically speaking, accounts for instinctive, automatic opposition to any private involvement at all in our water supply?
Private companies have played a role for decades. They build dams (for profit), supply equipment (for profit – what else?) and conduct engineering studies (for which they are paid). Who else can do these things?
Opponents of P3s offer nothing beyond sentimental slogans that water “is precious.” So it is. But so what? No significant conclusion follows simply from this flabby premise.
The instinctive, automatic assumption is that whatever is precious is best handled by governments only.
There is no reason to take this assumption as true. Governments can mishandle what is precious.
Besides, there are many precious things beside water. Food is precious. Yet no one works herself into a snit against “privatized” berry farms. We should be grateful to Safeway (an international corporation headquartered in California) for supplying us precious food.
Clothing is just as precious as water. Yet no one clamors for it to be controlled by the Ministry of Jeans.
It is privatization, not government control, that brings the wonderfully wide range of clothing we take for granted.
Then there is the voodoo economics of Maude Barlow and her confused Council of Canadians which, falsely, claims that private companies make water “more expensive” because they “must make a profit.”
But non-profit organizations like governments make the functional equivalent of profit.
Non-profits just call it “capital reserves” or “retained earnings,” although on their financial statements, it plays the exact same role as profits.