Public Good and Public Service Feed

Bath Water at Bottled Water Prices?

Who owns the water supply? Is it right that a private company will own a public resource, like drinking water? What kinds of legal structures are appropriate to own, control, and manage res publica, or public goods? A battle is coming, I am afraid, as ordinary people realize that what they had assumed was being managed on their behalf by local governments are in fact being sold to and owned by global profit-maximizing companies.  Read about Nestle's efforts in this area, here at Alternet. Could social ventures, program related investments, or some new hyrid structure, help us keep and manage our water as a public trust? Who speaks for the poor who are thirsty?

Richard Harwood on Public Good

Richard Harwood:

What if more and more of us went our own way in public life to pursue our own personal agenda? What if each of us was to find our own news, only to forgo that which doesn’t resonate with us? What if you and I began to see ourselves primarily as individual consumers, with little connection to one another?


There’s nothing inherently wrong with individualism or with customizing consumer products. But I often hear a kind of dismissive tone taken to the concerns I have raised here; a belief that all will work out if we merely aggregate each person’s whims and wishes.

But determining the public good requires more from us than merely going our own way. We must see and hear more than our own mere customized desires. We must open ourselves up for public business too.

Excellent! How do we create and maintain public goods when the Hidden Hand drops the ball?