The ultimate goal is to provide a sustainable water service for the community. It's one of the primary functions of city government. The system has been strained over the years. ... At this point I think we have to be open to everything.Gonzalez is wrong on two counts. First, providing water service is not a function of government. Government's purpose is to protect individual rights, which means the freedom to take the actions necessary to sustain and enjoy our lives.
Second, the city won't be open to everything. I am very confident that the city will not consider privatizing the water system. And by privatizing I mean getting completely out of the water business--selling the assets and letting private businesses provide water service.
Water--like other utilities--is considered a "natural" monopoly. That is, the infrastructure required to provide water service is such that it makes more economic sense to have a single provider. In short, "natural" monopolies preclude a competitive marketplace.
Such arguments are based on numerous faulty perceptions about capitalism. One of those faulty perceptions is the need for competition in order to have a healthy marketplace. But competition is not an essential characteristic of capitalism--it is a by-product. The essential characteristic of capitalism is the recognition and protection of individual rights.
When men are free--when they are able to act on their own judgment without interference from others, so long as they respect the mutual rights of others--competition often does result. When men are free, they often identify a more efficient way to produce a product or service. When men are free, they often identify a better product or service. When men are free, they can act on that judgment by offering their products and services to others.
The proponents of "natural" monopolies claim that markets should perform a certain way, that there should be abundant competition. When the market fails to provide competition, they proclaim a market "failure" and insist that government must intervene.
That intervention invariably involves prohibitions on competition--if someone wishes to offer a competing service, he is prohibited from doing so. Which means, government prevents the very thing that it claims the market won't provide. Why then, are such prohibitions required?
When men are free, they often find innovative ways to provide the goods and services that consumers want and need. Entrepreneurs are far more creative and resourceful than any government bureaucrat could dream of being. As an example, consider the computer industry. The phenomenal advances made in computer technology have not resulted from government controls and regulations, but from freedom.
Admittedly, privatizing our water systems would be a complex undertaking. But building computers is also complex, and perhaps more so. We reap the practical benefits of the relative freedom in the computer industry--an abundance of choices and continually declining prices. The same benefits could be ours if we privatized our water systems.