Thursday, July 3, 2008
Poverty and Water: Explorations of the Reciprocal Relationship / D. Hemson, K. Kulindwa, H. Lein, and A. Mascarenhas, eds. -- London: Zed Books, 2008.
Poverty and Water is a collection of nine scholarly papers and a summary concluding article. The papers are not consistently informative and often make uncontroversial points. Their central theme is that poverty and the lack of access to potable water and/or water for irrigation are strongly related. Furthermore, the World Bank's initiatives to privatize water has had highly detrimental effects. The authors urge a return to the notion that access to water is a basic human right which must not be left to the vaguaries of the market. While I think the main conclusions of the book are sound, a reader would be well-served to pick and choose which papers to read, but the summary article is worth reading in any case.