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15700523 Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke Blue Gold New Ed 2004 Synopsis

15700523 Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke Blue Gold New Ed 2004 Synopsis

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Hong International Hall Blue Gold symposium at Pacific Lutheran University 4, 2008, 3:00 p.m.


Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke, Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water (New York & London: New Press, 2002; paperback 2004 [with new preface]).
[Note: Blue Gold was initially the title of a booklet by Maude Barlow published by the International Forum on Globalization in 2000 (255).]

Preface. [June 2004] Upbeat assessment of the global movement against private control of water (v-viii). Acknowledgments. Associates working on the Blue Planet Project of the Council of Canadians (see www.canadians.org); families. Introduction. “[T]he world is running out of fresh water” (xi). “[U]nless we dramatically change our ways, between onehalf and two-thirds of humanity will be living with severe fresh water shortages within the next quarter-century” (xii). The neoliberal Washington Consensus, with the World Bank and the IMF as its enforcers, advocates privatization as a response to this problem, but this is unacceptable from the perspective both of human rights and of natural ecology (xii-xv). Treaty Initiative. Declares “the Earth’s fresh water supply to be a global commons”; written by Barlow and Jeremy Rifkin and unanimously passed on Jul. 8, 2001, at the Water for People and Nature summit in Vancouver, British Columbia (xvii-xviii). PART I: THE CRISIS Ch. 1: Red Alert. Treating water as a commodity for commercial exploitation breaks with a millennial tradition (3-5). While there are 1.4bn cubic km (330m cu. miles) of water on earth; 2.6% is fresh water, only 0.77% “circulates relatively quickly” as part of the water cycle; annual rainfall is only 34,000 cu. km (8,000 cu. miles) (5). Rain is a crucial part of the hydrological cycle, but most fresh water is groundwater (6). Population, urbanization, technology, and sanitation are taxing the water system to the limit (6-7). Industrial demands are 20-25%

and increasing (7-9). Slovak hydrological engineer Michal Kravčík argues these tendencies are depleting fresh water resources (10-12). A frantic search for groundwater is underway (12-15). U.S. aquifers are also being depleted (15-18). Mexico (18-19). Middle East (19-22). China (22-23). Africa (23-24). Dimensions and urgency of the problem (24-25). Ch. 2: Endangered Planet. Environmental destruction tends to occur at an exponential rate (26-27). Peril to species (27). Sewage and chemicals the “single biggest threat” (28-29). Survey of water system problems (30-35). The Great Lakes are at risk (35-37). Wetlands are being destroyed ( 37-38). Deforestation is accelerating (38-40). Global warming has special impacts on fresh water supplies (4043). Invasive species in fresh water (43-44). Overirrigation and nonsustainable farming damages water systems; the Aral Sea is the most spectacular example (44-48). Dams damage water systems and ecosystems (4850). Ch. 3: Dying of Thirst. “The 3,400kilometer maquiladora . . . on the border between Mexico and the United States are toxic cesspools” (51). Half the planet’s population drinks from unsafe water supplies (52-55). Rich/poor water divide (55-58). Water inequities within rich countries (58-60). Global food supply is running up “the hydrological equivalent of deficit financing” (60). Dams cause an array of evils (61-64). Scarcity breeds conflict (6469). Borders lead to water disputes (69-72). The development of trade in water rights for profit is creating a new commercial water system (72-76). PART II: THE POLITICS Ch. 4: Everything for Sale. The World Water Forum in The Hague in March 2000, convened by big business, declared water a “need,” not a “right”

2) concessions or leases by governments. a sense of proportion.ON’s bid for SAUR (123). .S. and a sense of obligation”―a concept developed by Ursula Franklin) (205-06). corruption. A system of bulk water transport is emerging. 3) smaller British and American companies (106-09). and Grenoble. Norway. Malefic intent is generally lacking. Enron’s acquisition of Azurix. Ch. Structure of the industry: ten corporate players in three tiers: 1) Vivendi Universal. Canadian scholar. A cartel.’ This is the corporate security state that now shapes the political life of nations and peoples in an era of global capitalism” (100. 3) management contracts (8892). The World Bank and the IMF are key to main financing system (160-65). and Austria (150-53). would be possible. The Bolivian struggle over the Cochabamba water utility (154-56). 5: Global Water Lords. Water is a “service” under the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade and Services (GATS) (167-70). Stopping dams (199-202). bottled water (142-45) under brand names (145-50). It involves pipelines (132-34). Suez’s worldwide expansion involved consolidating water enterprises under the brand name ONDEO (109-12). Ch. An anti-dam struggle in India’s Narmada Valley that became symbolic (183-85). Proliferating but littleknown “bilateral investment treaties” (BITs) can give water corporations additional clout (176-80). we are living under a military-style occupation with ‘puppet governments’ running the country on behalf of the corporations and their ‘armies of marketeers. and Enron-Azurix. France (185-88). Challenges based on water quality (193-96). Background on globalization. grand canals (137-39). former USSR countries. The groundwork is being laid for financial speculation with water. 8: Fightback. lack of transparency (124-28). though presently unlikely. Coalitions fighting privatization (188-91). Struggles to regain local control: Cochabamba. Bolivia. States are increasingly dominated by corporate interests (97-100). The role of the World Trade Organization and why GATT Article XX fails to protect water resources (165-67). E. Watershed restoration movements (196-99). and the new territories of occupation are ‘the commons’ (those not-forprofit spaces we ‘hold in common’ in a democratic society). Unsavory aspects of privatization: health and safety. Fighting the exportation of water (191-93). supertankers (134-36).(79-81). though it would be ecologically dangerous (129-32). The current system is based in a network of international agencies founded in the early 1990s (156-60). Vivendi Universal (112-17). Water commodification schemes: 1) government sell-off. winner of the 2001 Pearson Medal of Peace]. 7: Global Nexus. and long-time peace activist puts it: What we have now is an ‘economic war’ in which the new ‘enemy’ is people and Nature. The 1993 privatization of Buenos Aires’s water system by Suez (101-04). 6: Emergent Water Cartel. China. Bechtel-United Utilities. transnational corporations. and the commodification of nature (81-88). PART III: THE WAY FORWARD Ch. Principles can be the global water justice movement’s “standpoint” (the basis of important social movements. but the embrace of economic globalization has produced the same result. Says Franklin. emphases added). Canada. which later went to American Water Works (117-22). as France pioneered privatizing water supplies under Napoléon III). Water as new market for corporate exploitation (104-06). water bag schemes (13941). The internationalization of water-issue struggles (202-04). bringing “a sense of priority. the U. Suez (both based in France.. of which agreements like NAFTA are a part (92-97). Ch. enabling a “continental energy and water corridor” (170-76). involving (in descending order of importance) Brazil. 9: The Standpoint. 2) Bouygues-SAUR. Ch. “As Ursula Franklin [the 86-year-old German-born physicist. Regional trade blocs like NAFTA are intended as the foundation of the future Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and establish investment rules that require that foreign-based water corporations be given “national treatment” and “most-favored nation” status. environmentalist. RWEThames Water.

Water must be conserved for all time. 9) Promote the “Water Commons Treaty Initiative” at Rio+10 (world summit on sustainable development at Sandton. 5) Support the anti-dam movement (243-44). Index. as the basis for “water peace” (219-20). Water should be left where it is whenever possible. She has received six honorary doctorates from Canadian universities and received Sweden’s so-called “Alternative Nobel Prize. Maude Barlow. Access to clean water is basic human right (237-39). reclamation of polluted water sources and rejection of large-scale dams and diversions. Water belongs to the earth and to all species. community of interests. Ten guidelines: 1) Promote “Water Lifeline Constitutions” guaranteeing 25 liters/day by right to every individual (239-40). 8) Link up with the social justice movement (246-47). 2002 (247-48). Challenge corporations (245-46). Conservation. Modification of any water pricing scheme with consideration for “water universality” for humans and for Nature (216-19). 6. Most recently. 5. and fair and reasonable use. Access to an adequate supply of clean water is a basic human right. 10) Support a legally binding Global Water Convention (248-50). Water is best protected in natural watersheds.] .” with special attention to indigenous peoples (213-16). Polluted water must be reclaimed.. The public must participate as an equal partner with government to protect water. 2. is one of the leading figures in the global water justice movement. of British Columbia. 4) Oppose the commercial water trade (242-43).” in 2006.” the “Right Livelihood Award. 6) Confront the World Bank and the IMF (244-45). she is the author of Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water (McClelland & Stewart. born in 1947. The best advocates for water are local communities and citizens. 15 pp. Notes. 2007). 2) Establish “Water Governance Councils” (240-41). 10: The Way Forward. 3) Fight for “National Water Protection Acts” (241-42). Tony Clarke is director of the Polaris Institute and chairs the committee on corporations for the Int’l Forum on Globalization. The principle of a “water commons” as the basis for decommodification (208-11). She chairs a large public advocacy organization in Canada. on the campus of the Univ. Ten principles for water resources: “1. and a new attitude to water are the key to a “water-secure world” (232-36). 8. 12 pp. to be guarded by all levels of government. with additional considerations for shared-water systems. Reestablishment of awareness of nature underlies the principle of “water stewardship” (211-13). Principles of limited and integrated territorial sovereignty. South Africa) in Sept. Social justice undergirds the principle of “water equality.citizens must take the lead in responding (206-08). 9. She is a director of the International Forum on Globalization. 4. 10. chapter by chapter. Economic globalization policies are not water-sustainable” (221-28). 7. [About the Authors. Water is a public trust. Ch. In July 2001. 3. 800 people from 35 countries participated a conference on “Water for People and Nature” organized by the Council of Canadians (230-32). the Council of Canadians.

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