Water Water Everywhere Case
Nestle has been taking over the water in small communities often using unfair practices. Several of these communities have in turn fought the company stating that among other things, Nestle is harming the environment and charging local citizens for their own water which would otherwise have been free.
There are countless articles on the internet pertaining to Nestles’s acquisition of water sources and as far as I could find, none are favorable to the company or its practices. The Sierra Club, a U. S. based environmental organization and shareholder in Nestle and Corporate Accountability International, led a gathering of concerned citizens at Nestle’s North American headquarters in the north-eastern city of Greenwich, Connecticut to call on the company to “respect the right of local communities to exercise democratic control over the use of their water. ” “Water is essential to life on this earth and to the viability of local communities,” said Ruth Caplan, chair of the Sierra Club’s Water Privatization Task Force.
“Nestle is bottling Communities spring water without their informed consent.
Nestle profits while consumers pay more than a thousand times the cost of their local water” (Eli Clifton, 2007). Amazingly, I can see both sides of the story and if I did not allow my bias over a non-based U. S. company owning parts of the U.
S. I would probably be very torn in who has the better case, the communities or Nestle; however, if I were evaluating this case from a libertarian perspective, I would say that Nestle is in violation of the civil liberties of the individuals of the communities where they seek to obtain water rights.
Even if I attempt to use Nozick’s theory and first principle of entitlement theory, I would still as a libertarian say the water belongs to the communities where it is located and that said water is a state owned natural resource, a basic necessity of life. Since this water was not discovered by Nestle, nor was the bottled version made out of something that they already possessed then they have not justly acquired the holding.
John Locke stated that property rights were limited not only by the requirement that one not waste what one claimed but also by the restriction that “enough and as good” be left for others or that one’s appropriation not make others worse off (John Locke, 1690). In her statement concerning Nestle the National Director of the Think Outside the Bottle Campaign had this to say “Nestle’s water grab ruins streams, ponds, wells and aquifers” (Gigi Kellett, 2008).
Environmental group the Sierra Club also states that Nestle is damaging the environment and many web articles on the process of bottling water show that there are water wastes involved in the making of bottled water. This to me does not indicate that they are not making others worse off. What bout the people who live off the fish in the streams? What about the animals and the fish? The ecosystem is not better off, but worse off than if Nestle were not allowed to take the water. Large corporations, like Nestle, should not be allowed to claim natural esources, then turn around and charge the nation’s citizens to have that same resource that was previously free to all. However, if I were to view this through a Utilitarian’s eyes, I would probably side with Nestle as did some of the elected officials of the affected communities, seeing that the sale of water would promote the greater good of many of these communities and that money and jobs promised would promote social well being and happiness among the citizens of the community.
Unfortunately for those so gullible to Nestle’s promises they have found that they were not dealt with fairly and that Nestle did not inform them of the subtle specifics of their contracts.
“(Water bottling) companies don’t bring many jobs and often get tax breaks so there is no tax return to the local community and the profits go out of the community,” said Peter Gleick, president of the independent Pacific Institute, based in Oakland, California. ” The Sierra Club intends to use its clout as a shareholder to demand a reform of Nestle’s practices and make Nestle acquire “full and informed consent” from local communities where water is being bottled” (Eli Clifton, 2007). Assessing this from a Rawlsian standpoint of people in the “original position” agreeing on principles based on mutual self interest under the conditions of equality and free choice, where all is agreed upon ahead of time and consent is freely given, I would hasten to say that Nestle’s business practices leave a lot to be desired.
Perhaps if they had taken their proposals to the citizens and not just to a few city government officials for approval, they would not be in court quite so often Rawls theory would support that all of the citizens of the affected communities could come together and decide what was best for their community together cooperatively. “At the heart of Rawl’s argument is the contention that people in the original position, will be conservative, in the sense that they will not wish to gamble with their futures.
In setting up the ground rules for their society, they are determining their own fates and those of their children” (Barry and Shaw, 2010, 2007, p131). I have found that the following statement would support a Rawlsian theory and pose a good argument against Nestle from a Rawlsian viewpoint. “Terri Swifter, head of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation, says courts have ruled that Nestle’s pumping operations in the state are harmful to the environment. Water belongs to the people, not to Nestle. Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation will continue to do all in our power to protect Michigan waters from being pumped for profit so our water will be available for future generations,” (Eli Clifton, 2007).
I have discovered that while assessing the Case study 3. 2, (Barry and Shaw, 2010, 2007) many questions come to mind that I had not considered before. This was certainly a thought altering article (Barry and Shaw, 2010, 2007, p139).
Two of the most important questions for me that will probably never be answered legally is “Why does anybody have the right to own water” even if that water is on land that the person purchased and “Who’s water is it? I can say in my own opinion that in answer to the second question it should definitely not be Nestle’s water, they aren’t even an American company. I think that the waste of water and the damages caused would support a Libertarian and Rawlsian view and my saying that Nestle should be given the boot out of our country and out of our water supply.