Stemming the Tide: Human Rights and Water Policy in a Neoliberal World (Hardback)Madeline Baer (author)
Hardback 224 Pages / Published: 14/09/2017
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When privatization of public services swept the developing world in the 1990s, it was part of a seemingly unstoppable tide of neoliberal reforms aimed at reducing the role of the state and reorienting economies toward market-led policymaking. Water privatization, one of the more unpopular policies of the neoliberal development paradigm, sparked a particularly fierce debate and gave rise to a movement of self-proclaimed "water warriors" who advocated for legal recognition of water as a basic human right to be protected and fulfilled by states. Complicating this debate, Madeline Baer questions whether either approach - the market approach or a human rights-based approach - leads to improved access to water. More specifically, Baer explores how the human right to water and sanitation is fulfilled in different contexts, whether neoliberal policies like privatization pose a threat to the right to water, and whether rights fulfillment leads to meaningful social change. Using two case studies - Chile, the most extreme case of water privatization in the developing world, and Bolivia, the birthplace of the global movement for the human right to water - Stemming the Tide uncovers the conditions under which the right to water and sanitation can be fulfilled, as well as the obstacles to fulfilment. Ultimately this book argues that deepening mechanisms for citizen participation, strengthening accountability, and creating alternatives to the state/market binary can help achieve meaningful social transformation in the water sector.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 356 g
Dimensions: 222 x 153 x 21 mm
"Tired debates over whether states or markets are superior providers of public goods have tended to dominate water and sanitation reform. Baer's comparison of a much-heralded model of water privatization with an equally famous case of rights-based resistance takes us beyond this controversy, illustrating how naive adherence to any model that privileges states or markets while ignoring citizen participation and community-based alternatives is flawed. Her unique analysis provides valuable insights for theories of social transformation, and offers fertile ground for future researchers to cultivate."
--LaDawn Haglund, Author of Limiting Resources: Market-Led Reform and the Transformation of Public Goods
"Madeline Baer makes a central contribution to human rights and political science literatures alike with this compellingly written, theoretically provocative, and timely book. The implications of her findings should push scholarship and policymaking on economic rights in important new directions."
--Shareen Hertel, University of Connecticut
"Madeline Baer shows that state capacity to regulate suppliers, prevent corruption, and subsidize poor customers may be more important than whether the water is privately or publicly provided. Everyone interested in the fulfillment of economic human rights should read this important volume."
--Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann, Author of State Food Crimes
"Stemming the Tide makes an important contribution to the burgeoning literature on the right to water. Baer refuses to simply accept the conventional narratives and exposes the complexity and contradictions of realizing the right to water. As such, the book raises the scholarship on the right to water to a new level."
--Inga Winkler, Author of The Human Right to Water
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