Water Rights and Moral Limits to Markets

In C. Tyler DesRoches, Frank Jankunis & Byron Williston (eds.), Canadian Environmental Philosophy. Montreal & Kingston: pp. 217-233 (2019)

Authors
C. Tyler DesRoches
Arizona State University
Abstract
This chapter argues that the human right to water entails specific moral limits to commodifying water. While free-market economists have generally recognized no such limits, the famous Canadian environmental thinker Maude Barlow has claimed that the human right to water entails that no water markets should be permitted. With a Lockean conception of the human right to water, this chapter argues that both views are mistaken. If water markets prevent people from obtaining some minimal and proportional share of water, by charging a prohibitively high price, or otherwise, then they put the human right to water in jeopardy and, therefore, should be blocked.
Keywords Environmental Philosophy, Political Philosophy  Political Philosophy
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