Maude Barlow's Water Incorporated Essay

999 words - 4 pages

Maude Barlow’s “Water Incorporated: The Commodification of the World’s Water” gives a voice to a very real but vastly unknown issue: the privatization of water. I refer to it as vastly unknown because it wasn’t until this article that I was even aware such a power struggle existed. Barlow first introduces startling statistics, meant to grab the attention of its reader. Once she has your attention, she introduces the “new generation of trade and investment agreements.” (306) This includes referencing many different acronyms such as, FTAA, NAFTA, GTAA and WWF. FTAA, NAFTA, and GTAA are the villains of this story. Simply put, the privatization of water would end in socioeconomic turmoil and dehydration worldwide.
First, let me explain what privatization and commodification of water actually refers to. Privatization is transfer of ownership from a local company to a private economic body. Water privatization gives private entities control over water and its systems. Barlow believes ownership over water is a breach of human rights.
This article does two things successfully; it raises awareness of an important problem and communicates exactly how the problem will affect the world. Barlow’s argument uses pathos and logos to push her ideals on her audience. However, while her use of appeals stimulates, it fails to finish with a final solution to solve the previously posed problem.
Admittedly, 2/3 of the world’s population living with water shortages is a scary enough statistic to send a shiver up the spine. Barlow doesn’t stop there however; she goes on to say that only 2 % of the U.S. rivers and wetlands remain untouched. What does that mean for the creatures that lived there? Covered that too, “37% of freshwater fish are at risk of extinction, 40% of amphibians are imperiled and 67% of freshwater mussels are extinct or vulnerable to extinction”. Obviously, logos is a dear friend to Barlow. Not only are the statistics effective, but also push the audience to keep reading. She is not afraid to scare you because she knows fear is exactly how to get a response.
One of Barlow’s strong points is how strongly she identifies the enemy. After reading this article, it is known without a shadow of a doubt that the FTAA, NAFTA and GTAA want to take water away from you. She first makes this obvious in the second page “Corporations are using a new generation of trade and investment agreements to gain ownership over the world’s ever-dwindling water supplies so that they will become the suppliers of last resort.” (306) The disapproval communicated by this single sentence is enough to set the tone for the rest of the article. That passion makes the article bearable albeit complicated if not bias.
Which brings me to the things wrong with this article. Unfortunately, for Barlow not everyone can follow or even begin to understand all the trade agreements and aforementioned acronyms. This article narrows its...

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