Privatization of Water Supply: the proper valuation of essential needs
This paper will discuss the issue of privatization of water supply from the perspective of utilitarianism, rights ethics and justice ethics. It is argued in the paper that privatization should not be adopted based on the above three aspects which are of decisive importance, and why it should not be implemented .
Utilitarianism is one of the most aligned to the economic analyses, which is to maximize the utility and happiness of the great number of the populations. It is theoretically characterized by consequentialism, welfarism and sum ranking.
Above everything else, the water supply is ...view middle of the document...
By no means is privatization a good approach to improve the majority’s utility.
Ethics Rights Approach
Privatizing the water supplies in Greece and Portugal goes against the rights of the citizens there. It is a human right to have access to water, as declared by the United Nations. Since the against-will privatization of Portugal’s water supply, the citizens there have seen a 400% increase in price of water over a couple of years and a steady 6% increase every year after. In the article What is the Benefit of Privatizing Water, the author states that although private companies promise cheaper, better quality water for its residents, this is in fact not the case. The non-profit advocacy group, “Food and Water Watch,” took a look at average water prices and found that when privatized the residents were charged as much a 50 percent higher prices than they would if a public company controlled the water supply. From a rights ethics point of view, this is morally unfair for the people as they have no control over a basic right, water. From Wenonah Hauter’s point of view in the article Are We Better Off Privatizing Water, she also agrees that privatizing water supply is not in the public’s best interest and should be avoided. Considering the mass as the taxpayers, water as a basic subsistence resource could be referred to a public goods with the state’s subsidy on improvement innovation, the citizen (that is also the taxpayers) should be rewarded with the discounted charge and the guaranteed water. The main reason for privatizing a countries water supply is to gain financial stability in the short run, it disproportionally affects low-income families as they would have a hard time being able to afford the rising prices of water. From the above two articles it can be seen that although there are some benefits, such as a short-term financial fix, access to water is a basic human right and should be put ahead of short-term financial matters when it comes to importance of the issue.
Justice ethics looks to the issues of fairness and equality in these cases, at which points we will elaborate on how privatization affects the price fairness of water supply and whether privatization leads to a fairer distribution of water.
Firstly, a look has to be taken what the effect of water privatization has on the price of water. The first straightforward fact is that the government will obtain a...