Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World's Water

Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World's Water

Maude Barlow

Language: English

Pages: 304

ISBN: 1565848136

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In this “chilling, in-depth examination of a rapidly emerging global crisis” (In These Times), Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke, two of the most active opponents to the privatization of water show how, contrary to received wisdom, water mainly flows uphill to the wealthy. Our most basic resource may one day be limited: our consumption doubles every twenty years—twice the rate of population increase. At the same time, increasingly transnational corporations are plotting to control the world’s dwindling water supply. In England and France, where water has already been privatized, rates have soared, and water shortages have been severe. The major bottled-water producers—Perrier, Evian, Naya, and now Coca-Cola and PepsiCo—are part of one of the fastest-growing and least-regulated industries, buying up freshwater rights and drying up crucial supplies.

A truly shocking exposé that is a call to arms to people around the world, Blue Gold shows in frightening detail why, as the vice president of the World Bank has pronounced, “The wars of the next century will be about water.”

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value that are often deemed insufficiently profitable.

over the past three decades has been staggering. Between 1970 and 1992, according to the World Investment Report, foreign direct investment by transnational corporations in nonindustrialized countries grew twelvefold. In the next five years (1992-1997) it tripled again, rising to US$149 billion out of a worldwide total of US$400 billion in foreign direct investment. The corresponding push to open markets worldwide by promoting a combination of foreign imports and export production has generated a

water-goddess of the Inuit, it will not tolerate this abuse forever. The signs are all present. If we do not soon change our relationship to water and the ecosystems that sustain it, all our wealth and knowledge will be meaningless. We are as dependent on fresh water for life as our ancient ancestors were. But many do not seem to be aware that this precious resource is disappearing. The clock is ticking, but they do not know it. FINITE SUPPLIES We’d like to believe there’s an infinite

to 60 percent of total revenues. Characteristic of its global reach, 58 percent of Vivendi’s revenues are now generated outside of France — 18 percent of those in the U.S. alone. The conglomerate’s next largest revenue generators are its water companies — notably, Générale des Eaux (Vivendi’s main international water company) and U.S. Filter (the largest water services company based in the United States). In building its empire, Vivendi Universal is now pinning its hopes on its communications

water increased from 84% to 91%, the population receiving sewage services increased from 64% to 73%, and non-functioning accounts plunged to 8%.” Overall, the operating costs of the public water utility were reduced by 45% and SABESP is now in a position to finance its investment programs through loans and its own funds (although the Brazilian currency devaluation of 1999 did have a negative impact on the company’s finance capacities). At the same time, SABESP has expanded its environmental

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