Carroll Ríos de Rodríguez — Water Rights & Population
Development Economist, Guatemala
The way a water market is framed makes a huge difference as to whether you will have the possibility of a corporate monopoly over the resource.
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Biography for Carroll Ríos de Rodríguez
Carroll Ríos de Rodríguez teaches Public Choice theory and development economics and serves as president of the Board of Trustees at Francisco Marroquín University. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Economics and Social Research Center (CEES), the Family, Development and Population Association (FADEP), and a member of the Mont Pelerin Society. Rodríguez writes a weekly column for Siglo Veintiuno, and her articles appear in Perfiles Liberales, Regulation Magazine and The Wall Street Journal, among others. She obtained a BA from Dartmouth College and an MA in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University.
Carroll Ríos de Rodríguez on Racism & Population Control
Population control is a policy that basically sees that the solution to poverty is eliminating the poor. The whole message behind it is that some people don't deserve to be born or to exist, and I find that very offensive actually, even racist. Population control is detrimental in that it creates this environment that is anti-life ... It is extremely offensive that someone in an office in Europe will decide that no more black babies should be born or no more Latin American babies should be born, or that only one baby should be born.
Carroll Ríos de Rodríguez on Water as an Economic Good
Water is an essential resource for the people, but it's also an economic good, and we tend to forget that water is scarce. What happens when you nationalize it or when you promise everyone that they will have water in abundances, and you commit the government to delivering this promise, then you're treating water as if it were always going to be there in plentiful quantities. And that is not the case. So what you have is a situation where you are not taking advantage of economic incentives to regulate the way that people use water. You have people wasting water because it doesn't cost them anything, because it's free.
Carroll Ríos de Rodríguez on Water and Incentives
You want to prevent someone from walking ten miles to the river every day to gather water that they need. But then you also have to pay attention to the fact that water is a scarce resource ... And then you have a well-intentioned project of bringing water into a village and people waste [it]. They let the water run and never turn the faucet off because it's free. And so I think you have to be very attentive to the economic incentives that you are creating. If you give people things for free, they'll take them for granted and you actually kill an incentive to be creative, to be productive, to improve on what you currently have.
Carroll Ríos de Rodríguez on Poverty in Guatemala
Poverty is a very important aspect of life in Guatemala. It's all around us. And you cannot grow up not seeing poverty around you. You have to be very callous not to care or not to reflect on it. The president of the University Francisco Marroquin actually, that was his turning point. He was thinking, how do I alleviate poverty? What is it that we should do to alleviate poverty? And the response was not through charity or through handouts because he realized that that was temporary relief and that there was something more that had to be done in order to alleviate poverty.
Carroll Ríos de Rodríguez on Government Aid
The first thing that I've found with charity is that, when government says, “It's my responsibility to take care of the poor,” it crowds out private initiatives. What has happened in Guatemala is the government has said, “It's my responsibility to take care of the poor,” but then they do it so poorly, they fail to help the poor, and that’s when private initiatives started creeping in.
Carroll Ríos de Rodríguez on Avoiding Dependence
One way to avoid creating dependence among people who have been a subject of charity is to make sure that they’re able to reach their full potential and be creative and avail themselves to their resources in order to grow ... And what people need in terms of meeting their full potential is in many ways just tools or skills to be able to set up a business or to run a business.
Carroll Ríos de Rodríguez on The Population Bomb
Paul Ehrlich wrote his population book in 1968 and everything he predicted was going to happen hasn't happened. It’s based on a theory that didn't come through, that didn't pan out. We have to re-examine what it was that Paul Ehrlich was saying in the book and contrast that with the evidence. In Paul Ehrlich’s book The Population Bomb in 1968 he predicted that even by1972 the world would be completely overpopulated, that we would have situations of massive starvation even in the United States in India and other countries. People would be dying from disease and hunger. And several years later India is exporting food and we haven’t had massive starvation in any real shape or form in the United States or Europe. And so a lot of his predictions were not correct.