Letter in today’s Irish Times.
Water is the new oil. Mega-banks such as Goldman Sachs, CitiGroup and JP Morgan are buying up water resources, engineering infrastructure and water rights worldwide. They know that, as water becomes more scarce with climate change and population growth, there are vast profits to be made. In addition, the lucrative potential of “big data” means that Irish Water, as an asset, is far more valuable with PPS numbers attached than without. Not just water, but our very identities are being commercialised without our consent.
The privatisation of water transgresses all notions of natural justice and threatens ordinary citizens with withdrawal of a life-giving resource that nobody should ever have to live in fear of losing. Privatisation of public services has repeatedly been shown to have disastrous consequences, in terms of quality of service, workers’ rights and value for money.
Any country where access to the basic prerequisites of life can only be guaranteed to the wealthy is a failed society. We elect our politicians to run the country on our behalf, to distribute resources and to ensure a minimum acceptable standard of living for all citizens. In the perennial battle between ordinary citizens and the profit-seeking corporations that seek to dominate and exploit us, we pay our politicians so we can be sure they are on our side? Are they?