Water Privatization and the Diamond Monopoly

I came across this article critiquing the Nestle CEO on his views on water privatization:

In a candid interview for the documentary We Feed the World, Nestle Chairman Peter Brabeck makes the astonishing claim that water isn’t a human right. He attacks the idea that nature is good, and says it is a great achievement that humans are now able to resist nature’s dominance. He attacks organic agriculture and says genetic modification is better.

A comment on a wordpress reblog of the article lead me to an article by the CEO himself invoking the “tragedy of the commons” that quotes quite a few examples from India:

On the other hand, however, some at that time might have found the interpretation of a human right to water rather undifferentiated and radical. This rather extreme interpretation considered any withdrawal a human right and water as a free good. This interpretation is much less widespread today, but if accepted by more people, it could potentially have had serious consequences. The people defending this very extensive view were quite vocal, at times even aggressive. Whoever wanted to set a focus and add some more clarity here – and I was among those – was attacked.

That in turn reminded me of an article from 1982 regarding the way the diamond trade evolved to make diamonds a status symbol. The objectives were probably quite different, but notice any similarities with the water privatization solution?

The diamond invention is far more than a monopoly for fixing diamond prices; it is a mechanism for converting tiny crystals of carbon into universally recognized tokens of wealth, power, and romance. To achieve this goal, De Beers had to control demand as well as supply. Both women and men had to be made to perceive diamonds not as marketable precious stones but as an inseparable part of courtship and married life. To stabilize the market, De Beers had to endow these stones with a sentiment that would inhibit the public from ever reselling them. The illusion had to be created that diamonds were forever — “forever” in the sense that they should never be resold.

Apple & The Default Narrative

I choose to quote a para supporting the default narrative unlike John Gruber:

That isn’t to say that Apple should be controlling and arrogant, and that their choices don’t create genuine problems worth bitching about. Nobody should pretend it’s good for consumers that Apple doesn’t let Nuance make Swype for iOS and doesn’t let us set Chrome to be our default iPhone browser and that it’s to my benefit that iCloud makes it impossible to use Byword on the Mac and iA Writer on the iPad to edit the same plain text documents. Apple definitely contributes to their own reputation.

via Coyote Tracks – The Default Narrative.

Mr. Smith Never Made it to Washington

I guess the US Senate hasn’t changed all that much in over 70 years:

In Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, however, the decent common man is surrounded by the most venal, petty, and thuggish group of yahoos ever to pass as decent society in a Capra movie. Everyone in the film — except for Jefferson Smith and his tiny cadre of believers — is either in the pay of the political machine run by Edward Arnold’s James Taylor or complicit in Taylor’s corruption through their silence, and they all sit by as innocent people, including children, are brutalized and intimidated, rights are violated, and the government is brought to a halt”.

via Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Apple and pricing

Given that most people think that the Post-PC era is on, it makes sense for Apple to continue its Mac pricing. The tablets and smartphones are anyway eating into the low end of the PC market:

The conventional wisdom is to pursue profits by maximizing market share. Apple pursues profits by specifically targeting only the high-margin segments of the overall market, and effectively forgoing market share in the low-margin segments, no matter how large those low-margin segments are.

via Daring Fireball: Pricing and Profit Consistency and the Halo Effect.