Water is not (yet) a commodity: Commodification and rationalization revisited (2013)

Author(s): Castro JE

    Abstract: The article examines the valuation and commodification of freshwater. It argues that if a conceptually restricted concept of commodification is applied most water in the planet remains un-commodified owing to slow and fragmentary character of the rationalization process in water control and management activities. In particular, the process involved in the valuation of water remains marred by protracted assumptions such as that water (and Nature more generally) has no pre-economic or pre-social value, that the amount of freshwater available to humans is endless and self-purifying, and that water is no more than a resource for humans to use at will. The article argues that water control and management activities in most countries fail to reach levels of calculability and predictability characteristic of capitalist commodification processes.

    Notes: Full Journal title Human Figurations: Long-term Perspectives on the Human Condition

      • Date: 01-02-2013
      • Journal: Human Figurations
      • Volume: 2
      • Issue: 1
      • Publisher: MPublishing, University of Michigan Library
      • Publication type: Article
      • Bibliographic status: Published

      Keywords: Commodification; environment; freshwater; incommensurability; rationalization; valuation.


      Professor Esteban Castro
      Professor of Sociology