Monday, January 26, 2009

Botlled Water as a Commodity

The existence of capitalism entails not only an overexploitation of humans but of the world’s natural resources. With the help of industry, production has exceeded demand, which means that the bourgeoisie class needs to stress consumerism as a value. Such an eternal cycle between overexploitation, overproduction, and overconsumption has generated damaging consequences to the environment because it has been justifiable and sometimes has been shown as a patriotic duty. Last week, an interesting e-mail circulated at UTEP which advocated people to decrease consumption of the bottled water (see Using Marx’s concepts, could it be said that the ruling class, in this case private companies, are stressing, as a value, the consumption of “pure” water. Advertising campaigns are emphasizing at least two of the following ideas. The first one is that to buy bottled water is better than fixing public water utilities, which could ensure pure water for everybody. The second one is that the important thing is to provide each individual with “pure” water without taking into account the ecological damage that the overaccumulation of plastic bottles generates in the environment. Following Marx’s ideas, bourgeoisie must ensure the consumption of its commodities (in this case bottled water) by spreading certain values to guarantee profit. At the same time, proletarians will follow bourgeoisie’s values, which transform pure water in a commodity rather than a human right. The question that remains is if proletarians could do something to avoid the commodification of basic needs.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. Water is the most basic of life needs, and even it is a commodity!