I drink almost 2 litres of water a day; a glass or two during breakfast, picking up a bottle on the way to the tube, refilling my mug a couple of times from the office sink during the day and another bottle on my way home from work. Like most people, I take my access to one of life’s necessities for granted. However, water shortages are wide spread across the globe and a good article in The Economist, points out that soon a crisis in the world’s water supply coild become a real problem.
The article suggests a solution to this shortage and it is quite simple: the trading of water across the globe. This is a clear, open market, pro-globalization proposition. It appears that the transport of mass amounts of water is both feasible and cost-effective.
An important point to take from this article is that the idea of a global water shortage is misleading. In total there is more than enough water for all…that Canada and Brazil have more water than they need is of little consolation to parched Yemen and northern China. If this isn’t an argument for free trade, I don’t know what is.
Supporting open economies allows those who can provide or produce something to specialize. In agriculture for example, economies that don’t have the natural requisites to produce their own food can import and specialize in a different productive endeavour. Yes, this may mean that a change is necessary in what may have historically been the established industry of an economy, but if anything, humans are adaptable and the most successful countries and economies have been those that adjust their output to what they can do best.