Thursday, April 2, 2009
Jack Shafer of Slate has posted a neat piece that attempts to dispel the myth that water shortages can lead to armed combat:
Shafer makes much of the fact that "in the last five decades there have been no formal declarations of war over water." He seems to be arguing that there's something so special about water that otherwise warring factions are willing to compromise over its allocation. Of course, it's also possible that global water scarcity is just beginning. We're only starting to come around to the idea that water is a market based commodity and that water shortages can limit a country's development. Moreover, the article ignores the violence that erupted in Cochabamba, Bolivia when that city tried to solve its water problems through market pricing. It's an interesting piece, but ultimately unsatisfactory.