‘Spaceballs’ Is Now: Air, Water And The Monetization of Human Life

perri-airImagine going for a walk in the park with your family, your child runs up to the water fountain and presses the button for some a bit of refreshment.  Nothing comes out.  At first she’s confused, but sees the coin slot/card swipe that will sell you 15 second of flowing water for just 50 cents.  You as a loving dad, pull out your card and swipe it so she can have a drink.  Think this image is impossible?  Do you imagine this to be something only a mad man would think of, to deprive humans of the right to water?  Unfortunately there are interests buying up rights to all clean water sources.  People like oil baron, T. Boone Pickens and Nestle chairman, Peter Brabeck see water as a commodity like any other, not a right.  The Nestle chairman explains his stance in light of his goal to treat water as a foodstuff and the outrage his views have caused:

 “The fact is they [activists] are talking first of all only about the smallest part of the water usage,” he says. “I am the first one to say water is a human right. This human right is the five litres of water we need for our daily hydration and the 25 litres we need for minimum hygiene.

“This amount of water is the primary responsibility of every government to make available to every citizen of this world, but this amount of water accounts for 1.5% of the total water which is for all human usage.

“Where I have an issue is that the 98.5% of the water we are using, which is for everything else, is not a human right and because we treat it as one, we are using it in an irresponsible manner, although it is the most precious resource we have. Why? Because we don’t want to give any value to this water. And we know very well that if something doesn’t have a value, it’s human behavior that we use it in an irresponsible manner.”

When Spaceballs was first introduced as a parody of Star Wars, the insanely ludicrous idea was that the home planet of the evil overlord was running out of air and that they had to breathe it out of a can.  Less than 20 years later we are seeing the demise of human rights to clean air and water.  There is nothing more essential to human life than breathing.  Without it, none of us can live for very long at all, yet in China, a billionaire named Chen Guangbiao is selling fresh canned air to slowly suffocating Chinese city dwellers in Beijing.  Fortunately, for the moment, this is only a gimmick to raise awareness of the monumentally horrific pollution levels within the city, but if it proves to be lucrative, might he, or someone else actually sell air as a legitimate enterprise?  Is it only a matter of time before people like the Chairman of Nestle claim that people are using their air irresponsibly?

The argument is the same:  You have a certain amount of water that you have a right to, but if you misuse what you have, it should be treated as a commodity.  If you use more than your ration, you are taking from a precious supply and therefore should pay for it.  If carbon dioxide levels continue to climb past their already meteoric levels and air safety is at risk, wouldn’t it make sense to ration the clean air and commodify it as well?  If people like Nestle get involved, what more info do they need to prove their ‘foodstuff’, wastefulness and value’ model from what USA Today reports:

“For the first time in recorded human history, levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm), according to data released Friday morning from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. Increasing amounts of carbon dioxide and other gases caused by the burning of the oil, gas and coal that power our world are enhancing the natural “greenhouse effect,” causing the planet to warm to levels that climate scientists say can’t be linked to natural forces.”

If you’re a runner, you could soon be running around with your Nike air tank system filled with Gatorade scented hyper oxygenator technology that will help you maximize your workout.  Since you don’t have to workout, you are wasting precious air, which means you should pay.

Of course I’m lampooning the ridiculousness of the scenario, but is it really that far fetched in light of what we’re hearing from the largest food manufacturer in the world?  Here comes the quietly creeping concept of the old miners who worked each day to make enough of a wage to always fall short of the cost of living and to owe more to the ‘company store’.  It may become the song of every human being, who has to prove they are not a ‘waste of air, or water’.   How can this possibly be seen as a beautiful future of promise that Peter Brabeck talks about, wondering why we all are whining when we have all the best things and the most wealth ever?

Perhaps its the fact that not everyone can presently afford food and when water is listed as a foodstuff, we have just put a price on human life, a value that, if not lived up to will result in death.  Will we choke on our own noxious gasses and fracked drinking water and be forced to buy air and water from the very people who made profit off of the endless tragedies that brought us to this point?  Barring a miracle, I believe it is exactly what will occur as long as we let corporations like Nestle carry on with business as usual.

Oh, Lone Star, where are you now?

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  • Mr. Good Bomb

    You don’t get it. He is saying, rather poorly, that farming should have to pay more for water. As far as I can tell, that wold make him money. Groceries cost would be slightly affected while what it would result in is also positive developments to update and improve the infrastructure to make it more efficient. Our current water systems are very leaky. I know what you’re thinking, taxes. Yet if the cost of water was high enough vs the low cost of infrastructure than large corporations might finance infrastructure projects jointly with government. Nt always the best way to save money but long term some responsibility in use of water might result. I wouldn’t count on it though…

    • Simon Valentine

      i don’t know why you got down votes
      in a metaphor of baseball, you are out in the field
      fine by me.
      well, infact.

      especially your last bit:
      “…long term some responsibility in use of water might result.”
      THIS
      this point exactly is to be extrapolated from what we have learned regarding bank treachery
      for example
      whoever made the call for X to happen can not ensure that X will happen without performing X; en toto; PERSONALLY. thus, the proposition is as an initialization of a parameter field engaging “bank ideology” such that the illusion is “successful” when the bet (that the promise’s end point will be met [irregardless of anyone who didn’t do X]) is ‘made due’. there are many tricky parts to that, but fuck.

      it’s fraud and other crimes plain as day, being repeated, in orthodox procession, A-gain. someone putting out an APB from Capital Hill to say “whatever fucking lowly ass underpaid peasant wants to get a hit on this little ordeal can smack talk and bitch and moan all s|he wants” … and C.H.’ll just continue they’re little psychotic charade like they got something done. oh. and they’ll also develop a system to lynch those who ‘get out of bounds’ that turns the psychotic fact of the system from C.H. onto ‘peasant’. and yes, [sic] the word psychotic and replace it with pretty much anything. it’s what you pick that is the name of the game, some say, some say, some say, some say…….

      same shit, same story, same time.
      which plague is the black plague again?

  • emperorreagan

    Fairly standard bad actor logic:

    The commons is a dumping ground, until such time as some part of it can be commoditized.

    Once something has been identified as a potential commodity, its rights should be granted to private industry for a tiny fraction of its value as a commodity.

    People have taken water for granted, but now we recognize it’s precious! Trust Nestle to take care of it!

    • Simon Valentine

      i get:
      “[Nestle] wants the money tie-ins and not the responsibility or work that necessarily goes with the task as proposed”, yeah?

      to think that any time “everybody” needs “somebody” to do “something”, “no one” “ever” “knows” who the somebody is … is a thought that has tie-ins with “the reality of the work place” … which is much as money in its extant dichotomous obesity. and even then, look out, there’s the “saint” expansion. god forbid people return to the identical parallel of questions today and speak of the moral of yesterday! meh. i’m out. MATH & COMPUTER SCIENCE

      *edit*
      sorry i lied
      culture popping out saints and saviors is like zits popping
      yes
      age reference and all

      saints and saviors are as much a sign of bad times as any
      and yeah, everything will turn around and nothing will change … is not something that won’t be spoken of this time

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    I drink Lake water sometimes. Just dip my jug in there when I am out canoeing, up North. Its not a perfectly pristine area but pretty remote. You can still probably get giardia, but I felt like an idiot purifying all my water way out in the middle of nowhere with nothing but pine trees and loons around. At what point can a human being be a wild animal? People are nasty and dirty. So if you live in cities you need to have lots of infrastructure.

    Looks like this is all part of the trend for more privatization of all the infrastructure and commodities necessary for civilization.

    This is why every so often I say “fuck it:” and go where I can drink lake water from a jug.

    • BuzzCoastin

      once I was hiking on a trail in Hawaii
      I was out of water and saw a spring flowing out of the side of a hill
      I cupped my hands and drank
      a tourist mentioned that it might not be safe to drink
      I explained that if the water flowing out of the ground is poisoned
      we are all doomed
      but that was before Fracking had stated
      and fracking is not yet in Hawaii, as far as I know

      • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

        exaxctly!

      • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness

        Sometimes I think natural gas is just a convenient excuse for the process of poisoning everyone’s wells.

        • BuzzCoastin

          you’d think that & it would be logical
          but poisoning the water is an idea generated by MS Excel
          it told dull witted oil execs
          that poisoning the water was highly profitable
          and then they found & funded some scienticts
          too help them justify MS Excel’s instructions

          you think I’m exaggerating?
          I’m not
          I’ve seen it in action
          it’s not an exaggeration

  • Joey Foo

    Air is already a commodity … its called carbon credit

  • Andrew

    Not everything is earned, nor should it all be.

  • BuzzCoastin

    of all the water on earth
    less than 10% is available for human use
    and that percentage is rapidly declining

    there are easy ways to harvest and store water
    farmers used to do this when they were really farmers
    now most are just tractor drivers & are clueless about water

    Americans particularly & the rest of the whirled in general
    piss away valuable resources thoughtlessly
    the US is slowing turning into a desert
    simply due to ignorance about how to harvest & retain water
    which is caused by modern agro-culture

    • Anarchy Pony

      The draining of the aquifers should be scaring the shit out of people.

      • BuzzCoastin

        Americans especially have been using resources
        like drunken sailors on pay day leave
        the hangover is going to be a bitch

  • Gabriel D. Roberts

    The earth is free, or at least it used to be. Now everything is bottled up and sold.

  • echar

    “For a white man each blade of grass or spring of water has a
    price tag on it,”
    John Fire Lame Deer

    • Andrew

      Makes me wish I wasn’t “white.”

      • echar

        No one chose their skin color when they were born. We can’t help that, but we can make a choice about how we view the world.

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