چگونه سیاست "آب برای همه" هژمونیک شد: قدرت بانک جهانی و شبکه سیاست های فراملی آن
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|22975||2007||15 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Geoforum, Volume 38, Issue 5, September 2007, Pages 786–800
As recently as 1990, few people in the global South received their water from US or European water firms. But just 10 years later, more than 400 million people did, with that number predicted to increase to 1.2 billion people by 2015, transforming water in Africa, Asia, and Latin America into capitalized markets as precious, and war-provoking, as oil. This article explains how this new global water policy became constituted so quickly, dispersed so widely, with such profound institutional effects. It highlights the prominent role of transnational policy networks in linking environment and development NGOs and the so-called global water policy experts with Northern high-end service sectors, and the ways in which the World Bank facilitates their growth, authority, and efficacy. This phenomenon reflects the World Bank’s latest and perhaps most vulnerable development regime, which I call “green neoliberalism.”
On the drive from the Johannesburg airport to the wealthy white suburb of Sandton – host to the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) – colorful billboards suspended above the airport freeway depicted Black township boys splashing joyfully in an endless bath of fresh blue tap water.1 These ads cajoled summit delegates to taste and enjoy the city’s tap water, suggesting it was as pure and clean as bottled water. Soon after the World Summit began, it became crystal clear that these ads were not selling the idea of safe potable water to European delegates anxious about drinking water in the Third World; on the contrary, they were selling South Africa’s water systems to interested European bidders in town. In stark contrast to the well-secured and luxurious Sandton, 10 km down the road, the rigidly segregated and decrepit Black township of Alexandra (“Alex”) houses Sandton’s underpaid labor force. Without good public transportation, health clinics, schools, and basic public services, Alex stands as a grim reminder of all that has not changed since the end of apartheid. Three hundred thousand people in Alex are jammed into just over two square miles of land without access to affordable clean water, electricity, safe housing, or basic sanitation services. The key word is “affordable,” as many of these services have been provided but have now been shut off because people cannot afford to pay for them. In a dramatic political turnaround, the new politics of the postliberation African National Congress (ANC) conforms to the view of the Washington Consensus of the market as a level playing field in which there are “willing buyers and willing sellers.” This perspective has been imposed upon poor Black South Africans in the most draconian fashion. In the poor Black township of Orange Farm, just days before the start of the 2002 World Summit, the French firm Suez rushed to install water meters as a test run for other parts of the country. The French insist its “pay as you go” system avoids the messy complications of nonpayment or theft. But in Orange Farm, public taps were dismantled and private meters were installed at homes with no income earners. Some of the new taps already leaked, and residents, with no way to recover the lost water, feared that their first month’s free water would be their last.2 As it is, many households can afford only four to five days per month of electricity from their recently privatized electricity meters. Township homes replete with fancy new French meters are otherwise ill-equipped: toilets are outhouses, there are few sewage connections, and homes are constructed from either thatched materials, concrete slabs, or collected pieces of scrap metal. Along with the 10 million people suffering from water cutoffs, and 10 million from electricity cutoffs, 2 million people have been evicted from their homes and many more live in substandard conditions.3 With more than one million formal sector jobs lost since 1994, and the high-priority move by the ANC to privatize the heavily unionized public sector, many more jobs will disappear soon.4 However much the ANC wishes it could constitute a willing consumer culture amenable to foreign investors, the only thing thus far being consumed are the township residents themselves.5 At the time of the 2002 World Summit, South Africa was still reeling from a deadly cholera outbreak that erupted after government-enforced water and electricity cutoffs. At the outset of the epidemic, which infected more than 140,000 people, the government cut off the previously free water supply to one thousand people in the rural KwaZulu Natal for lack of a $7 reconnection fee. South Africa has an ongoing water supply problem as is evidenced by the 43,000 children who die annually from diarrhea, a disease epidemic in areas with limited water and sanitation services. The Wits University Municipal Services Project6 conducted a national study in 2001 that identified more than 10 million out of South Africa’s 44 million residents who had experienced water and electricity cutoffs. (These figures are disputed by South Africa’s Water Ministry.) Epidemiologists interviewed by the study’s authors say that these cutoffs were the catalysts to the national cholera crisis (Bond, 2003 and Bond, 2004). These changes in the townships epitomized the politics of the World Summit agenda. As a follow-up to the momentous Rio Earth Summit in 1992, the mission of the Johannesburg World Summit was to assess the accomplishments and failures of the past ten years and to agree upon a program for the future. The agenda emphasized five basic issues: water, energy, health, agriculture, and biodiversity. Even though a series of preparatory committee meetings were held in sites around the world (e.g., Jakarta, New York) in an effort to get feedback and participation from a wide array of diverse actors, the final WSSD document read much like a World Bank policy paper, and a wish-list for the world’s largest service sector firms: Water privatization is the best policy to tackle the global South’s poverty and water-delivery problems. That such a seemingly diverse set of actors should carve out a document that is so “consensual” and full of “common sense” to many sectors and professional classes around the world – from the International Chamber of Commerce to environmental NGOs to South Africa’s ANC – should give us pause. This trend toward water privatization reflects a major shift in the global development industry. From the 1950s through the 1970s – the period of national development – economic objectives in the global South emphasized repatriation and nationalization of natural-resource-based sectors. But since the debt crisis of the 1980s, and the full-throttle imposition of structural adjustment by the World Bank and IMF, Southern states have been forced to sell off their public enterprises, including those that had successfully produced national wealth, widespread employment, and social stability. By the 1990s, under the neoliberal logic of privatization, even the most essential public-sector services, such as education, electricity, transport, public health, water and sanitation, were being put on the auction block (World Bank, 2003c and Hall and de la Motte, 2005). The shift is fairly recent and yet widespread; it has received the cooperation and consent of a broad base of professional class networks ranging from chambers of commerce to development and environment NGOs. In the case of water, at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, privatization was hardly discussed; yet, just ten years later at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, it was the main event. Why and how did it become so pervasive so fast? Is there a global consensus on its merit? One explanation for this rapid change lies in the remarkable ideological revolution of what I call “green neoliberalism,” and the critical role of the World Bank and IMF in its generation and indigenization in the global South, where most of the world’s “under-capitalized” natural resources and their service sectors still exist. Below, I will explain this notion of green neoliberalism and how it has become the World Bank’s latest development regime over the past two decades; how it differs from the Bank’s previous development regime of structural adjustment and debt management; and how it works. I will do so by focusing on one case of this new regime, the Bank’s highly successful campaign to promote a major shift in water policy – privatization – and explain how such a neoliberal dream could come true, and be implemented so broadly, and in such a short period of time. Such concentrated effort to push a global privatization agenda does not, on its own, transform; it requires active participation and contributions from actors in corporations, NGOs, think tanks, state agencies, and the media, across the global North and South. Consequently, since the early 1990s, there has been an 800% increase in African, Asian, and Latin American water users purchasing water from European-owned private firms. And yet, global water privatization has been an extremely vulnerable endeavor. As the final section of this article demonstrates, against overwhelming odds, the world’s largest water firms have been forced to pull out of its most lucrative Southern markets due to mass-based mobilizations and political ultimatums (including the election of a new president in Uruguay and its anti-privatization constitutional amendment). From this case of water policy reform, we can learn a bit about the making of globalized hegemony and counter-hegemony, and in particular, the contours of the World Bank’s latest regime of green neoliberalism and the transnational professional class that engenders and facilitates it.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In the case of water privatization, the shocking tragedy that much of the world lacks access to affordable and clean water is an image that may create new opportunities in the business of development but may have little to do with ultimately quenching those basic needs (Bayliss and Hall, 2002, Grusky, 2002, Barlow and Clarke, 2002, Hall, 2003 and Hall et al., 2002). The “problem” of water scarcity for the world’s poor majority has been analyzed by the World Bank as one in which the public sector has failed to deliver and has therefore prevented development from “taking off” and the economy from modernizing (World Bank, 2002, World Bank, 2003a and World Bank, 2003b). If the state cannot deliver something as basic as water and sanitation, the argument goes, that is a strong indication of a general failure of public-sector capacity. Water scarcity therefore becomes simultaneously indicative of a problem of poverty, of modernization, and of governance. The Third World state is typically portrayed by the Bank and its partners as stuck in “arrested development,” often depicted as corrupt, inept, and politicized. In this colonial framing, the state is the main hindrance to a country’s successful integration into the global economy, and hence to the economic fruits that such integration supposedly bears. Within the interpretative framework of “pro-poor” development, the best decision the Bank can make is to insist that as a pre-condition of future access to capital, the state must clean house and package degraded public assets for sale on the international market. Services and goods such as housing, water, electricity, and sanitation can no longer be left to decay, for their inefficiency not only affects the health of the poor majority, but the whole country’s ability to participate in the global economy. For many reasons, not least a neoliberal ethics of poverty reduction and ecological sustainability, this new political rationality of development views public-sector industries, utilities, and goods as best serving the public only after they are fully or partially privatized. In this scenario, the state should regulate but not run the public service. Yet with the sale or lease of a public good clearly comes more than simply a privatized service; alongside it comes a whole set of neoliberal capitalist forces that intervenes in state–citizen relations and North–South dynamics. The World Bank’s policy campaign for water privatization has been much more than a leasing program for dilapidated public plumbing and sewer infrastructure. Rather, it has marked the entrance of new transnational codes of conduct and procedures of arbitration, accounting, banking, and billing; a new ethics of compensation; new expectations of the role of the public sphere; and the normalization of transnational corporations as the local provider of public services and goods. Within the world of development, a consensus has emerged claiming that private firms can do no worse than the inept state, and will more likely do much better. Those who constitute the world’s transnational water policy networks believe that the poor are already paying “above market” rates for water from private water tankers and taps when public systems are inadequate. To European-based water firms and World Bank economists, this evidence indicates that the poor (as well as the middle classes) represent a large population of “willing customers” who are eager to be provided with an efficient and reliable service, something the private tankers and public taps apparently cannot offer, especially on the scale required. In today’s dominant discourse, the distinction between public and private is assumed to be sharp and clear, such that one can make the sweeping generalization that the world’s past and present water problems are due to the public sector. Yet even the most conventional historical readings of the world’s largest water projects – e.g., the Hoover Dam, Suez Canal, Indus river waters projects – reveal that this distinction is a specious one, and that in fact, the public–private distinction has always been blurred. Most of the world’s largest water projects have been joint public–private (or rather state-capital) ventures in which states have typically been the lead investors and movers behind them, while private capitalist firms have done the infrastructural and contract work, and received most of the benefits they provide. Whether they are feeding industrial farming, mining, or energy production, most grand water schemes have had highly subsidized state support in order that a minority elite could profit and often become an enriched class of their own (Cronon, 1991, McCully, 1996, Scott, 1998 and Worster, 1985). Indeed, often it is the very same actors who are generating and awarding the contracts (in their roles as state officials) as receiving them (in their roles as goods and services providers, investors, or landowners). Finally, it is important to note that under colonial rule, vast amounts of valuable “public” natural resources (including water, watersheds, and river systems) were controlled by “private” trading companies awarded contracts by “public” European royalty and imperial states. Zambia, for example, was colonized by the British South Africa Company, a private multinational corporation led by Cecil Rhodes (Ferguson and Gupta, 2002, p. 992). Today, Zambia along with many other African nations are ruled “in significant part, by transnational organizations that are not in themselves governments, but work together with powerful First World states within a global system of nation-states that Frederick Cooper has characterized as ‘internationalized imperialism”’ (Ferguson and Gupta, 2002). So, how can we say without batting an eye that the public has failed such that, now, it is time for the private sector to take over the experiment? It requires the violence of abstraction and the denial of colonial-imperial history to derive such a simplified narrative (Scott, 1995). In sum, the relationship and identities of development NGOs, state professionals, firms and business councils, and international aid agencies should not be taken for granted, as the genealogies and biographies do matter. Who is billed as local and who is transnational, public or private, charitable or profitable, above, below, or in the civil middle? We need to do a better job of comparing this over-saturated realm which is self-proclaimed as “global civil society,” where most of the players are on first-name basis with each other, with the highly disparate “uncivil” societies challenging them. These categories are highly problematic and politically strategic. Not only is the realm of newly emerging civil society reified as the space of progress and ingenuity, but the process of constituting civil society – or transnational networking as described here – is central to the globalization (from above) project that has received tremendous philanthropic (and scholarly) support from elite sectors within the North for being highly flexible, participatory, expert-knowledge driven, transnational, and a political. In response, we need to ask some relevant questions: For example, why has this particular process of networking become the privileged site for civil society activity ( Riles, 2000)? What other types of political processes are erased, undermined, and subordinated in the process? These elite transnational policy networkers, it seems, are best able to generate and work in spaces of just-in-time, flexible, deterritorialized, and depoliticized expert realms. The instant expertise certification one earns as a member of the jet-setting transnational class of networkers suggests we need to give greater attention to this power/knowledge nexus ( Foucault, 1994). The largest international conference ever, the 2002 World Summit, reflected the ultimate accomplishment of World Bank-financed transnational policy networking; making this claim is, however, not to suggest that its outcome is singular or inevitable. This article focused on the remarkable rise and legitimacy since the mid-1990s of powerful transnational networks promoting global water reform in order to help shed light on the increasingly significant phenomenon of this type of elite policy networking and its basis in the World Bank’s expanding power/knowledge regime of green neoliberalism. Although western media repeatedly question the “accountability” of the green-haired anarchists who demonstrate at major international finance meetings, our attention needs to turn to the question of who comprises the “official” transnational expert networks, interrogate from where their authority derives, what the institutional effects of their extraordinary rise and influence in the global political economy are, and finally, the processes by which this enormous global influence of the World Bank gets (re)produced. The political stakes in such inquiries have never been higher, and the immanent possibilities never as grand.