May 08, 2009

Inequality, poverty and water

In response to an article by Wendy Barnaby (Do nations go to war over water?) that dispels the notion that population growth and climate change will lead to "water wars," Thomas H. Meek and Laura A. Meek write (Increasing inequality is already making shortages worse):
Barnaby's implication that poorer nations will become wealthier in the coming decades is at odds with the global reality of an increasing gap between rich and poor and with the repeated failure of such development plans. [I edited the literature references out.]
I am much wealthier now than twenty years ago. The same is true for several hundred million Chinese and Indians. There is an increasing gap between Bill Gates and I and my Chinese and Indian fellows. The fact that I and the others are wealthier is not at odds with the "global reality of an increasing gap between" Bill Gates, or the average Norwegian or the average Irish, and us.
Access to water is already a serious issue for people in many parts of the world and, given recent United Nations estimates, the situation is not likely to improve.
Access to water is still a serious issue but, according to recent United Nations estimates, the situation is improving and likely to keep improving in the future.

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