Whenever we managers go and eat lunch, we drink water. Either the flat type or the type that sprinkles a little. Regardless of the fact that such nice drinks as juice and spritzer, CocaCola and many other artificial soft drinks are available. Not to forget the world’s best beer and quite a few good vintages.

Still, we drink water. One reason is that it is good for our health. But perhaps it also has something to do with a type of “new modesty”. Why not just forego a little of all the detrimental luxury. Fifty years ago, when I was still working at Siemens, matters were still different – in those days, the managers of the OFK (upper leadership circle) hardly ever took their meals in the guest casino without a small glass of wine to go with it. And sometimes they smoked a cigar after the meal, too. Mind you, the leaders’ performance was probably no worse in those days than it is today.

But basically, the only reason I write about good old times now is that I now understand better and better how important water is and will become for us and our world.
Now, however, the EU commission also wants to privatize the market for rights of water. And, for example, also force communal authorities to privatize their water works. On December, 13th, Monitor did a program about this:

Secret Operation Water (Geheimoperation Wasser):
How the EU Commission wants to make water an article of trade.

This is all about those responsible at EU wanting to open the market for a privatization of water rights. According to WDR, Portugal is already forced to do it – and consequently they now have to pay four times as much as before for their water. Greece will not fare any better.

Privatization also means that in the future the water price might depend on the stock market. Water might actually become an export hit and its quality might then no longer be regulated by the usual control mechanisms. As a final consequence, the huge concerns will be able to control the water market even better than – according to my knowledge – they already do.

A signature campaign (Unterschriften-Aktion) against this EU plan has already been started. As of now, they already collected more than a million votes.

My personal feelings about all this is that it gives me pause. After all, I know how important water is for many humans and how many people even today suffer greatly because they have no access to water. I also know statistics that show that water might soon be worth more than oil.

It seems to make sense to me to have and leave companies that distribute resources and infra-structure in public hands. To me, this always seems to be a prudent compromise between forms of Allmende organizations and regulations on the one hand and privatization as part of global capitalism on the other hand.

The older I get and the more I learn about our business, lobby and political structures, the more my personal judgment tends to lean towards correctly dimensioned and de-centralized Allmende solutions.

(Translated by EG)

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