The World of Water, or Testing Neoliberalism: Is Water a Common Good or Private Property?

  • Alpar Lošonc Fakultet tehničkih nauka u Novom Sadu


The backbone of neoliberalisation is privatization of common goods from the perspective of market naturalization and creation of a specific resource regime. It is of important to emphasis that neoliberalism coexists with other societal projects and we are witnessing simultaneity amongst different projects. The naturalization of market structures and identification of market with competition produce intensified risk-related consequences for the society; actually, neoliberalism exposes the society to environmental risks with a number of concrete examples. The author analyses the importance of water resources from the economic perspective, especially with regard to the neoliberal perspectives on water resources. The modalities of market-based usage of water are presented, constituting the property-rights regime. It is argued that an unconditional, socially irresponsible privatization does not take into account community-related management of common pools and dogmatically acknowledges only state and private forms of property. Such a critical view is supported with considerations that a) the ongoing form of economic globalization does not maintain the development of the green market b) water is a common good embedded in cultural and political relationships and filled with symbolic meanings. The impasse concerning the status of water takes place in the context where the Washington-consensus proved to be defective. At the same there is no other coherently formulated corpus of ideas to substitute the neoliberal canon. Water as a common good needs normative engagement and ecological economy has a task to participate in determination of sustainable levels of costs and prices of water resources.

Key words: Neoliberalism, Water resources, Market-rower, Sustainable development, Ecological risks.
JEL: Q01.

How to Cite
Lošonc A. (2006). The World of Water, or Testing Neoliberalism: Is Water a Common Good or Private Property? Panoeconomicus, 53(2), 161-178. doi:10.2298/PAN0602161L
Original scientific paper