The best things in life aren’t so free

By Daniel Depoe

How do you like your water? Britaish? Dasanified? Evianed? Or, are you one of them wholesome and simple folk? You’re like Gandhi and the tap does you just fine.

No matter where you choose to drink your water the fact is barring a miracle from activist groups at the upcoming World Water Forums, our source of life will soon be a commodity. If water becomes "commodified" it will be available for purchase and sale in our ever popular "global marketplace." Who the fuck cares, you may say? We should.

You may have heard of the phenomenon called globalization. The basic principle of globalization is if you have the money to invest in a business venture, you should be free to invest it in any country willing to host your business. The World Trade Organization is the body in charge of monitoring, and to some degree controlling, investment and trade in the global marketplace.

In principle, things sound as if they would be fair.

In fact, the concept of "willing" has been subject to various interpretations and the perversion of control has led to the concentration of power and money into the hands of few. Depending on whether you are that few or not, this can either be a good or a really, really bad thing. Let me tell you, Gandhi didn’t like greed.

You already know that if you want a cool, crispy bottle of Dasani it’s going to set you back a couple bucks. Now let’s say that you’re one of the two or three billion people on this earth who have to survive on less than $2 per day. Therefore that bottle of Dasani will cost your entire daily earnings. Hold up, before you stop reading, writing me off as just another hippie out to save the world, don’t.

Let’s say you’re feeling like a humanitarian and choose to take a sip from your local water fountain. Great! That’s a good choice, I commend you. There’s just one more thing to consider.

According to a world-renowned scientist at the University of Alberta, Dr. David Schindler, the quality of water in Alberta outside Calgary and Edmonton is the shits. Literally. Intensive agriculture, drilling and other industrial activities pump and dump all sorts of nasty stuff into our water supply. Yeah, that means Mr. Glenmore Reservoir.

Dr. Schindler notes that it’s only a matter of time before Bubba, the local water treatment plant manager, slips up and misses a dose of our chemical cleansing. And then voila: E. coli and cholera-not to mention the hormones and antibiotics we’re already sucking back-will be coming to a tap near you.

Haven’t you ever heard of a town called Walkerton?

Consider a situation where we were no longer able to use our tap water for day to day uses. As Albertans, we’ve currently got so much denero we’d probably be able to shower with Dasani.

That being the case, let’s assume you’re frugal and you can buy bulk at Costco. Your shower may take you a two four, which will cost, let’s say, $25. At this point, what do you think would happen to the dude over there living on two bucks? Answer: He’d be thirsty, hungry, more diseased and be in an even worse off when pleading his case.

Simply put, putting the WTO in charge of the H2O will serve the benefits of the few at the expense of the many.

Daniel Depoe can be reached at

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