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The World of Water, or Testing Neoliberalism: Is Water a Common Good or Private Property?


  • Alpar Lošonc

    () (Faculty of Technical Sciences, Department for Social Sciences, Novi Sad, Serbia)


The backbone of neoliberalisation is privatisation of common goods from the perspective of market naturalisation and creation of a specific resource regime. It is of important to emphasis that neoliberalism coexists with other societal projects and we are witnessing simultaneity amongst different projects. The naturalisation of market structures and identification of market with competition produce intensified risk-related consequences for the society; actually, neoliberalism exposes the society to environ-mental risks with a number of concrete examples. The author analyses the importance of water resources from the economic perspective, especially with regard to the neoliberal perspectives on water resources. The modalities of market-based usage of water are pre-sented, constituting the property-rights regime. It is argued that an unconditional, socially irresponsible privatization does not take into account community-related management of common pools and dogmatically acknowledges only state and private forms of property. Such a critical view is supported with considerations that a) the ongoing form of economic globalisation does not maintain the development of the green market, b) water is a common good embedded in cultural and political relationships and filled with symbolic meanings. The impasse concerning the status of water takes place in the con-text where the Washington-consensus proved to be defective. At the same there is no other coherently formulated corpus of ideas to substitute the neoliberal canon. Water as a common good needs normative engagement and ecological economy has a task to participate in determination of sustainable levels of costs and prices of water resources.

Suggested Citation

  • Alpar Lošonc, 2006. "The World of Water, or Testing Neoliberalism: Is Water a Common Good or Private Property?," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 53(2), pages 161-178, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:voj:journl:v:53:y:2006:i:2:p:161-178

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    Neoliberalism; Water resources; Market-rower; Sustainable development; Ecological risks.;

    JEL classification:

    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development


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