15 Apr 2009

Human Rights and Water

Last week, I gave a guest lecture to a UCB class on human rights.

Here are the audio [48 min 17MB MP3] and my slides [PDF] from the talk.

I spent most of my time talking about some for free, pay for more; corruption in the developing world; and the uselessness of highminded ideals that fall to lowbrow power games. My favorite tidbit is this contrast between ideals and reality in the Soviet Constitution [from the slides]:
Article 50. In accordance with the interests of the people and in order to strengthen and develop the socialist system, citizens of the USSR are guaranteed freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly, meetings, street processions and demonstrations.


Article 6. The leading and guiding force of the Soviet society and the nucleus of its political system, of all state organisations and public organisations, is the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The CPSU exists for the people and serves the people.
The professor who introduces me, Kirk Boyd, is behind the draft statement of human rights on the environment that was the topic of last weekend's discussion (still time to comment!)

Bottom Line: We have a right to water, but a corrupt government will not let us exercise it.


  1. Two things

    'In the U.S. we have freedom of speech. We can criticize the President openly.'

    'Here in Russia we have the same thing.'

    'We can criticize the U.S. president openly.'

    Water markets

    Will you give us a practical example of a functioning water market, complete with numbers?

    I have a hard time understanding the details of the tradeoffs between lawn watering, making concrete, bottled water, water for washing, water for keeping rivers running, and the rest of the places that water would go, including virtual water.

    At a high level, the concept seems good, but I have little intuition about actual workings and the dynamics of these workings.

  2. Hi David, I have been busy lately down here in the New Orleans District:
    That blog is also giving gavel to gavel court coverage of the ongoing historic MRGO Lawsuit against the Corps of Engineers. The two are definitely connected.
    You can check the Ladder too.

    You are aware that LSU fired Dr. Ivor van Heerden, deputy director of the Hurricane Center --and the Director resigned in Protest?

    Editilla~New Orleans Ladder

  3. @Eric -- I'll be posting on the Chile water market soon. (See also markets in Australia, Colorado Big Thompson, and Westlands WD)

    @NOL -- Thanks for the tip. Feel free to email those tips in the future...


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