Irish Water Cronyism – What Is It?
The main news in Ireland for many months revolves around Irish Water Cronyism. It is a state company that uses tax payers money to establish itself, pay wages, possibly upgrade the water infrastructure etc. Regardless of making a profit or loss, this company can feed off the unlimited purse of the tax base. It might be a voluntary company as in consumers can opt out, but it is a monopoly so consumers will struggle to pick an alternative.
This is not privatization. This is not a private company.
This is not privatization. This is not a private company. Neither is this an example of a free market. A free market would mean anyone, you or I could jump in the ring to supply water, without any restrictions, licensing, protectionism, regulation etc to block entry to the likes of you and me. If you are big business of course you can easily pay for all that paperwork, but the smaller businessman, or local group (there is 500k unemployed people right now in Ireland itching for work, for a population of just over 4million that is very high!) who decide to have a go, all this bureaucracy instantly excludes them.
Taxation. I deal further with how taxation is crippling the poor here. Money is presently taken from all Irish citizens in various ways through taxation, which funds the dreadful water supply. Personally I buy gallons of water each week to cook with and drink. I have had my water tested and it is undrinkable, despite this I pay for it through taxation and will have to pay Irish water even more once the company is up and running, for water I cannot drink.
Water at present is pumped through out of date leaky pipes, much of which is lost as the infrastructure is so old. It would be possible for multiple companies to share the infrastructure, one (or all) produce clean water and then gauge and charge at each receiver, such as electricity. I have no issue with Irish Water if I could opt out, if my taxation dropped and I could pick my supplier from the phone book. But the state has the monopoly. By all means set up Irish Water, publish where every penny comes from to fund it, make sure every penny comes from those who choose voluntarily to sign up to the service and not a penny more. If the company runs a deficit then it should fail and be shut down like any failing business, but the state has a habit of pouring money into failed services such as RTE (State propaganda media) and who could forget the banks? Allow consumers the choice to opt out and to pick an alternative provider. My article on the state of the health service gives more detail on how consumers are not being given choice by the state.
Right now people think they get water for free, the reality is they pay through other taxes. If the state was accountable and could publish how much each person is paying for water then that person would get an idea what ‘free’ water actually costs. If we had a choice of suppliers to choose from, we might just go and pick a cheaper company, or a company with higher quality standards, or good customer service, or that removes fluoride, or perhaps that adds extra fluoride. The customer gets to choose, this is the point. Competition creates lower prices, better customer service, better quality products, consumer choice.
Irish Water Cronyism – How We Can Overcome It
Where there is potential to create jobs and make money, people will find a way to supply water. Ballygowan already sell large bottles of water to offices, perhaps more companies will consider selling to private homes. Heating oil is delivered and pumped into large containers. What is to stop large containers of sterile water being pumped into tanks for drinking? There is ideas like this one in Ethiopia that take 25 gallons of clean drinking water per day from the air. There is other possibilities of receiving water than through old leaky pipes, or a combination of more than one way. I have no doubt there is more means to generate clean drinking water, the obvious one being to drill a well. There could be many options for people to choose the service that suits them, the quality they require, the amount they are prepared to spend.
None of these ideas will develop, nor the jobs and innovation along the line, as long as consumers are tied to a state monopoly. Water is a necessity, this is why no company should have a monopoly over it and its quality such as the state.
My expectation is that Irish Water will be sold to one company, this is cronyism, one company in bed with the state will have the power to charge what they like as consumers will have little choice but to accept it. This is as bad as the state supplying the water.
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