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Friday, November 05, 2010

Clean Drinking Water: Need for Gov't Action?

This article describes many of the deaths and disease that have been caused by not having clean drinking water in various parts of the world. In these parts of the world they do not have access to clean water simply because they countries do not have the resources to build water purifying plants of anything of the sort. While reading this article I kept wondering if the same problem happened in America, what would be the correct response.

Obviously having clean water to drink is crucial for sustaining life, and not having clean water can lead to harm to the citizens. If this were to be in America, and substantial harm to citizens was happening, what would the government's response be? One response would be a corrective tax on the firms or activities that were putting the pollution into the water stream. But what if that could not be located to a single firm. I then did some research into how the government keeps public water clean. Utility companies such as Cinergy energy are in charge of keeping the utilities working properly. In many cases there is only one company responsible to keeping the water clean. So in this case, the government is supporting a monopoly. A solution to this could be to allow other utility companies to enter the market which would force water cleaning companies to keep up their standards and do their job right.

Although dirty could just occur naturally in the environment, I still think it is in the government's best interest to intervene if something like this was affecting the US population. As we have seen with air pollution we know that there is going to be an efficient amount of dirty water, but if there is a market for keeping water clean, then there should not be any of that getting to people's houses, and if there is I think government should be inclined to intervene.

"I still think it is in the government's best interest to intervene"

The normative perspective of efficiency economics is not about "government's best interest." Instead it is about the well-being of each of the individuals within the political jurisdiction of a government.

I think it is also a bit odd to evaluate government actions from the point of view of "government's interest," because I like Jefferson's view in the Declaration that individuals form government. So, the bottom line that makes normative sense for me is the interest of each of the individuals.
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