Tyler Cowen, over at Marginal Revolution, is reading Jeffrey Sachs’ new book, and is providing some thoughtful commentary on Sachs’ less-than-impressively-thoughtful text.
You can jump over to his blog post to read all of his thoughts, and I’ll just include an excerpt of Cowen’s thoughts on what should be done as water becomes increasingly scarce.
I might add that national governments are the ones that subsidize the price of water to ridiculously low levels, most of all for agriculture. My first step is to remove all these water subsidies, allow water prices to rise, institute more water trading, and then see which innovations the private sector decides to finance (hmm…those are my first four steps). One role for government would be to ensure that patent law does not hinder international transfer of worthwhile innovations, a point which Sachs makes in other contexts. That sounds less glamorous than a big international plan, but I think it has a better chance of succeeding.