24 October 2008

Let Them Drink Bottled Water!

The Competitive Enterprise Institute has set up a website called Enjoy Bottled Water!. It's devoted to the defense of the right to drink bottled water, free from government regulation. You can sign a petition supporting that idea, and I did.

The folks over at Alternet are apoplectic that such a "shill" website exists. They see conspiracy, but I don't. I left this comment:
I know the CEI folks. They are ideologically committed to free markets and stopping government intervention. They are donor supported (and WILL take donations from bottled water companies), but that doesn't mean they are not running the site as part of their main mission.

Your conspiracies are unfounded, IMO. They are just as ideological as the anti-bottled water people.
Bottom Line: Let people drink water from the tap or the bottle. Eliminating either source reduces competition and thus the incentive for the remaining source to improve its product.

3 comments:

  1. Hilarious.

    The thing about banning bottled water is that it is so arbitrary a target. So many other products are disposable, have a carbon footprint and have other associated negative externalities. Why choose to target bottled water? Should we start to restrict freedoms based on the whims of a well-intentioned minority?

    Also, environmentalists argue that bottled water isn't necessary because we get it practically for free here in Canada. Therefore we should ban it. This is the kind of elitism I find seizure inducing. Bottled water does hold some value. Maybe its the convenience or the luxury of having water come in a bottle. Regardless, the fact that people still buy bottled water despite how much more expensive it is, is evidence that bottled water does hold some value in excess of the water it contains. Maybe this value is illusory (i.e. bottled water is safer than tap water), but it is up to environmentalists to educate citizens and not lord over them.

    Last month I wrote a opinion piece in the university paper opposing a bottled water ban that student groups on campus were pushing for.

    It's nice to see another environmentally minded person like you who, while thinking bottled water is dumb, still supports the rights of people to buy it.

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  2. OK David, I'm sorry to say I "misunderestimated" you again... You think bottled water is "evil" (your word, but perhaps in jest), but you think people should have the freedom to buy it? Sort of like, "I hate heroin use, but it should be legal"?

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  3. "Evil" (where ever I said it) was in jest. I think that bottled water is a waste of resources -- and probably not taxed enough, but I'd never *ban* it...

    btw, there's a downside to heroin use, but a ban adds MUCH BIGGER downsides. (I've done a LOT of research into drug policy...)

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