Imagine this – a view of the floor of Chicago Mercantile Exchange at some forthcoming time, but instead of soybeans, pork bellies, corn and wheat, traders are exchanging water and/or water futures.
That seemed to be the vision of Steven Solomon, author of “Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization,” who appeared on MSNBC’s Jan. 5 “Morning Joe.” According to Solomon, commoditizing water, much as Al Gore as attempted to do with carbon, is a solution to this coming crisis, which will overtake the oil crisis as a pressing issue.
“Well, why we’re not aware of it – I think we need an Al Gore of water, has not yet step forth to sound the clarion about the risks and opportunities, frankly,” Solomon said. “[I]t’s in plain sight. It's overtaking oil as our scarcest natural resource. And, just as oil reshaped the politics and the economics and even the national security issues of the last century, water is about to do so today.”
Solomon portrayed water as a significant crisis that has toppled nations before and will do again if not addressed – despite the enormous cost of his policy proposals.
“In fact, I subtitled the book, the epic struggle for wealth, power, and civilization, because in every era of history, control of water wealth has been an access to power and has led to the rise and decline of great states,” Solomon said.
“Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough asked Solomon if a water shortage could indeed lead to wars.
“You say in the future, and I've heard others talking about this, wars will be fought over water,”
There could be wars, Solomon said, referring to past history in the
“They may, indeed, and has happened already in
Solomon even managed to correlate water shortages to recent events connected to terrorism, specifically al Qaida’s presence in
One of the hot political issues from 2009, at least in
“We’re seeing a lot more water is entering our national politics a great deal more,” Solomon said. “There are states – you alluded to
Solomon suggested there was a business aspect – making water a tradable commodity could turn the
“Now we have a lot in our country,” Solomon said. “We have a golden opportunity in this nation to help grow our economy in an enormous way by using our existing water much more productively than we do at present. And we have a – we could be a mini-Saudi
Water, which is a substance 80 percent of the earth, but only 1 percent is usable according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, should be regulated with what he called “the golden rule” – you return water to the ecosystem in the same way you extracted it.
“Really, the deregulation of existing subsidies and the launching of a golden rule for our ecosystems, which says you return to the water to the ecosystem in the same way you take it out. And you’re just -- basic fairness. And if you did those two things on a universal basis, I am convinced you would see an enormous increase in productivity of the way that we use water and therefore growth in our economy.”