Bush Premium water and the diamond water paradox

Bush Premium water and the diamond water paradox

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By Gustavo Spedale

We face new challenges, perhaps more dangerous, imperialism is pouncing on Water, as it pounced on gold in the first conquest of America, decrepit capitalism today becomes more dangerous, the water - diamond paradox is extinguished as such.

A paradox is an apparently true statement that leads to a logical self-contradiction or to a situation that contradicts common sense. In simple words, a paradox is the opposite of what one considers to be true.

The neoliberal governments in the province of Córdoba have installed a kind of "free territory and welfare state" for transnational corporations and the looting of our natural assets, especially water.

The privileges, the formidable profits and multimillion dollar subsidies that the transnational Suez and its controlled Roggio have been obtaining, with the essential venality and corruption of the neoliberal governments (Mestre, De la Sota, Schiaretti) and the extension until 2027 of the contract for the (de-supply) of Water in the Capital City awakens the greed of transnational groups.

It is the case one of the worst (if they exist). The warlords; The Bushes, with Jeff Bush (former governor of Florida) as a visible face; Ronald Krongold; The Cuban-American Fanjul family; Chileans Paulmann, and George Soros, among others, have decided to intervene in the water business through two companies, H2O + Sur and Protein + Plus, to market premium drinking water, made in Argentina, brand Patagonia Valley Organic & Gourmet S.A

"... Their project is to extract drinking water from the napas, to the lands purchased from an old ranch in the province of Córdoba, more precisely in the town of Río IV where they have already declared 5,000 hectares as property of the group ..." [1]

"… The business is to load them into large container tanks and export them to Scotland, a country where the product would be packaged and exported throughout Europe to be marketed as premium drinking water, made in Argentina under the brand name Patagonia Valley Organic & Gourmet SA. bottles would be sold in the most sophisticated gastronomic circuit of the old continent, where the product can be paid for up to 11 euros per unit ... ". [2]

The ongoing project of the Bush (Water as Commodities) adds other aspects to the foreignization of the land, which with the complicity of the rulers allow in Argentina; The "good Italian Benetton family" appropriates 10,000 square kilometers of Patagonia; The billionaire "ecologist philanthropist" Douglas Tompkins, owns 4,500 square kilometers in the south of the country and thousands more on the Guaraní aquifer (225,000 hectares of the wetlands that make up the Ibera estuaries), under the facades of foundations, which claim to preserve water and ecology (Silvestre and Eco Foundations) [3].

Argentina is a festival of the self-proclaimed protectors and guardians of ecology and the environment, where other "philanthropists" such as Ted Turner (owner of CNN), or Joseph Lewis (English billionaire), who are left with important portions of our National Territory, inspired by a common denominator, the present and future "water value".

The imperialism that came for water, not only imposes ruinous privatizations in sanitation and running water, but a new phase of globalized looting; It is about extracting it and exporting it in bulk as commodities, to enter the globalized bottled water market.

Looting that acquires special meaning for transnationals since bottled water allows greater profits to be obtained than those obtained for oil.

Becoming the most profitable, least controlled and regulated business in the world, in exponential growth and sales that generate profits of between 50 and 100 billion dollars, at a rate of 10% annual growth.

The 21st century finds capitalism resignifying several of its paradigms, the value of water is one of them.

At the dawn of the attempts of the theoretical justification of capitalism and after the genocides that allowed the "original accumulation" in the first bloody conquest of America; Adam Smith in his classic "The Wealth of Nations" (1776), referred to water and its value in the paradox of value or (paradox of diamond and water):

"... Nothing is more useful than water; but it will hardly be able to buy anything; little can be exchanged for it. A diamond, on the contrary, has little value in use; but a large quantity of other goods can be exchanged for it ..." .

Other "theorists of capitalism" had to invent the "concept of marginal utility", in order to conclude Smith's paradox, justifying that a good indispensable for life such as water has less value (as a commodity) due to its abundance, than a diamond for its scarcity.

They only needed to interpolate this last concept (marginal utility) with Smith's postulates: the State should not intervene in economic and (social) affairs, since the spontaneous selfishness of individuals would contribute to increasing the wealth of nations (read capitalist) ; This would be the invisible hand that would guide people in their actions.

It seems that the visible and predictable hand of selfishness and capitalist voracity (markets) has transformed its fundamentalisms and paradoxes into an insurmountable crossroads for the very existence of life.

The marginal utility of water without states to regulate and control it, and the "invisible hand", has surpassed replaceable and expendable objects in Smith's paradoxical scheme, be they diamonds, gold, oil and other commodities that "the disorderly hand" condemn. to extinction by overexploitation, Does the water run the same fate?

It seems that if, the paradox of water and diamond has become a tragic crossroads between water and life.

The privatizations of Aguas Cordobesas, Aguas de Santa Fe and Aguas Argentinas, were presented in the 80s and 90s to Suez shareholders by the visible hands of the World Bank and IFIS as a great financial success, which would allow incalculable profits, they were not such and The value of the shares today is sustained not in the water and sanitation services that they claimed to provide, but in claims presented to the ICSID (supranational court of the World Bank), for US $ 2,149 million (Suez cases against Argentina), leaving behind of if true catastrophes for the towns, like in the Buenosairean Urban Cone, turned into a true open pit sewer, product of the hydric imbalance. [4]

Anyway ... yet another "bubble", the one of water that capitalism has accustomed us to, such as computer technology, real estate and other bubbles that deflate faster than they get fat, leaving tragic consequences (including wars) for the peoples suffering from the effects of the "invisible hand".

The sale of bottled water in our country and province is not new, and it is situated in sales above Latin American standards, at the rate of mistrust about the quality of the water delivered by the privatized companies.

The bottled water market in Argentina is highly concentrated in the hands of Transnationals, dominated by two companies: Aguas Danone de Argentina SA (53% of the market) and Nestlé Waters (30%). Danone owns the Villavicencio, Villa del Sur and Ser brands, while Nestlé owns Eco de los Andes, Nestlé, Pureza Vital and Glaciar, among others. The Coca-Cola, Garbín and Pritty companies also participate in the market.

But the "commodity water" that the Bushes and company intend to extract in bulk from our lands, by transforming it into "Premium water" for Europe, the United States, Japan or the United Arab Emirates, acquires other aspects, far from what Smith imagined in its paradox.

It introduces the natural good water, indispensable for life, squarely in the inevitable process of "capitalist alienation"; Where the frantic search for profit for a small minority loses all rationality, and as a "market", it becomes independent of people and their needs, acquires a life of its own, and turns against the people.

The "premium water" does not escape in this way the inexorable laws of extreme capitalist exercise, such as fetishism (worshiping a fetish) in this case "exotic water".

A sample of the "new water fetish" that surely excites the Bush gang, perhaps is the burgeoning business of "Seductive Brand Premium Water from Cordoba."

Extracted with very low costs just 27 kilometers from Córdoba Capital (Falda del Carmen), it is transformed into a luxurious export product that under its Pet and glass containers is the delight in Dubai of Arab sheikhs who pay up to 130 dollars for a liter, and Even the actress Angelina Jolie, boasts of consuming the precious liquid, reaching the height of the fact that on the labels of her luxurious bottles she introduces kosher (suitable for the Jewish communities) and jalal (suitable for the Muslim community) certifications and her advertising ensures us ensures that the water contains nanoparticles of silver ions ???.

Seductive exports some 270,000 bottles to 14 countries, including Germany, France, England and the United States, with offices in Geneva and Miami. [5]

It is good to reflect on some concepts in order to understand the irrationality of these processes, where water is tried to install in people's common sense as a luxury merchandise and demystify it.

In the antipodes of Smith's thought, in Capital; Marx (1863 -1877) points out that commodities are: useful external objects that satisfy (directly or indirectly) human needs (real or imaginary), this utility makes these objects use values.

For a useful external object, the product of human labor, to be merchandise, it must be produced for others and transferred to them through exchange, that is, it must have a use value for others.

* -They are merchandise insofar as they are products of human labor
* -They are (mercantile) values ​​as crystallizations of abstract human labor,
* -The quality of value is manifested in exchange as exchange value, as price.
* -They are social use values ​​and acquire this value from acquiring the qualities for what will become merchandise.

Marx when referring to natural goods similar to water and their use value, and despite not referring specifically to water, uses qualifiers such as Virgin for the earth and natural for meadows and forests; The same approach could be applied to water in natural courses and reservoirs and states:

"... A thing can be use value and not be value and, therefore, not be merchandise). This is the case when its usefulness to man has not been mediated by work. This happens with air, virgin land. , the meadows and natural forests, etcetera… ".

This "use value and not commodity value" reasoning is key to understanding the role of natural assets.

From considering that the water must be captured, made drinkable and distributed, add effluent treatments that do not alter the hydrological cycle; Water in its natural state becomes part of a complex system of pipes, canals, aqueducts, water treatment plants, reserves and purification treatment plants.

Despite this, the final product that reaches our taps in Marx's conception, would be a commodity with use value and not commodity value at this point is no longer natural water and is a product of human labor, with the great difference that as human beings do not produce water.

But Marx in his work "Capital" does not make normative judgments about the duty of capitalism, and he describes it as it is; It can be concluded that: By its nature water cannot be transformed into merchandise. [6]

For this reason, our struggles and arguments must be situated in the field of battles of ideas against common sense installed and installed, and based on some conclusions such as those of Marx, they must be directed against all kinds of commercialization and privatization of the "natural good water", framed in the field of fundamental rights for life.

In times of global warming, caused water shortages, looting and pollution, new imperialist conquests, and capitalist fetishes that unleash wars and calamities, it is essential to take refuge, make ourselves strong and nourish ourselves with the baggage of the ancestral knowledge of our native peoples and societies. prior to capitalism, moving from resistance to the offensive.

In our America, where a direct relationship between human beings and living conditions existed and is still preserved in many communities, which allowed them to work and reproduce their life day after day, year after year, under the main condition: harmony between the natural resources Earth , Water, Environment, outline a way to go.

In our native peoples, the vast majority of what was produced were use values. Their purpose was direct consumption, self-subsistence, and they were intended to satisfy human needs (food, clothing, housing, etc.). Only a very small part was produced for trade and exchange.

Before capitalism, the production of objects as exchange values, that is, goods destined for exchange and the market, was marginal and minority.

In the case of water, it is necessary to recover these values, monitor it, care for it and regulate it by the communities, throughout the hydrological cycle and the phases it goes through to reach its destinations (agriculture, industry, energy) or our taps; and Combine de-commodification with control mechanisms simultaneously, to avoid contamination, waste or waste.

This gives the "social good water" unique characteristics and marks differences with some other social rights that people gradually try to de-commodify through their struggles, such as health or basic education.

The "intentional and apparent territorial disorder" and especially in the hydrographic basins is the scene where another battle for water is fought.

The governments that are accomplices of the economic groups, cede to the corporations the power of a territorial ordering without participation and public or community interference, where people are stripped of all management capacity, decision or control of common natural assets; The Córdoba case is rude, since the provincial state has delegated to the Córdoba Environment Agency (an agency supported by private groups) the sum of power in management and territorial ordering.

Being able to appropriate the management, territorial ordering and control of the basins by the communities is essential.

To reestablish this re-empowerment, it is necessary to start a holistic (integral) vision and from there establish a syncretism between millennial cultures, related to the worldview of water, especially the Andean, where the peoples despite inhabiting regions, where it was scarce for geographical reasons , transformed limitations into opportunities, starting from considering water as a basis for reciprocity - complementarity, which allows the integration of living beings, and they conceived exquisite and gigantic hydraulic works without altering ecosystems. [7]

In our country, entire communities organize, resist and build offensive articulations against attempts to conquer, loot and contaminate our natural assets. The defense of the Uruguay River basin, against the Botnia grazing plant with its roadblocks.

The resistance of the residents of Famatina and Chilecito who prevent the Barrick Gold trucks from passing in defense of the basins that the Bush company contaminates with sulfuric acid, among other effects of open-pit mining, and countless struggles to throughout the country in defense of common goods, they are configuring the profile and map of a sustainable land use planning.

But it is in the cities (like Córdoba) where the war declared by the water transnationals against the towns is more ostensible, the conflicts originated by the invisible hand of transnational selfishness end and become fully visible.

The water war in Cochabamba (Bolivia, year 2000 against the transnational Betchel), demonstrated that it is possible to expel these transnational groups from our territories, The civil disobedience expressed in the non-payment of the ballots as in the case of Tucumán that 1997 that expelled to the Compagnie Générales des Eaux (VIVENDI), the Uruguayan public that incorporated a constitutional amendment that contemplates the human right and the non-privatization of Water; The resistance and popular consultation of Córdoba that gave a resounding no to Suez Roggio are some of the signs that our peoples are alert, and that by combining various methods of struggle it is possible to defeat them.

We face new challenges, perhaps more dangerous, imperialism is pouncing on Water, as it pounced on gold in the first conquest of America, decrepit capitalism today becomes more dangerous, the water - diamond paradox is extinguished as such.

Our peoples learned the lesson of more than 500 years of domination and today, social, popular, political, neighborhood, gender, faith, trade union, human rights organizations, etc., weave networks with knots where various social actors converge in a neighborhood, a community, a school, or a factory building popular power with a political character, not only vindictive or embroiled in false horizontalisms, capable of facing victorious new attempts to dispossess our natural assets, in this case water, but also on this path to be builders of the indispensable social change that will ensure forever the conquests that the peoples are obtaining.

"... History is a walking paradox. Contradiction moves its legs. Perhaps that is why its silences speak louder than its words and often its words reveal, lying, the truth ...".

"... Tenochtitlán, the center of the Aztec empire, was made up of water. Hernán Cortés demolished the city, stone by stone, and with the rubble he covered the channels through which two hundred thousand canoes sailed. This was the first water war in America. Now Tenochtitlán it's called Mexico City. Where the water ran, the cars run… "Eduardo Galeano, the walking paradoxes.

* Gustavo Spedale He is a member of the Córdoba Coordinator in Defense of Water and Life (CCODAV)



  1. Taavi

    What words... super, a magnificent idea

  2. Balin

    Absolutely agree with you. There is something in it, too, it seems to me an excellent idea. I agree with you.

  3. Edwy

    What words ... great, the beautiful sentence

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