The political economy of fresh water: from the commons to corporate enclosure

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Water is essential for life, and for this reason access to and control of water have been contentious issues for centuries. Since the 1980s this struggle has taken the form of a conflict over the privatization of water resources. Access to and control of water supplies are issues defined by the prevailing private property relations that comprise the global economy – those characterized by the preeminence of transnational corporate private property. Neoliberal policies, introduced throughout the world, have facilitated transnational corporate control over all aspects of economic and social reproduction, thus subordinating all forms of rights to the corporate form. This change in regulating power has led to significant questions arising from the implications of the commodification and privatization of fresh water. In reaction to these changes an increasingly organized movement is growing to resist this latest example of the enclosure of the commons.

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Department of Sociology and Anthropology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)