Posted: 10/30/19

‘Human Right to Water, Water Markets’ Topic of IBC Bank and Commerce Bank Keynote Speaker Series Tonight


Dr. DesRoches
Dr. C. Tyler DesRoches  

Today, as water becomes increasingly scarce, the question of whether the human right to water entails moral limits to water markets is at the forefront of discussion.

This topic will be explored in-depth during the next installation of the IBC Bank and Commerce Bank 2019-2020 Keynote Speaker Series Wednesday, Nov. 13 at Texas A&M International University’s (TAMIU) Student Center Ballroom.

Dr. C. Tyler DesRoches, assistant professor of Sustainability and Human Well-Being at the School of Sustainability and assistant professor of Philosophy at the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies at Arizona State University, will present his lecture titled, “The Human Right to Water and Moral Limits to Water Markets.”

Admission is free and open to the public.

A reception will start at 5:30 p.m. and the lecture will begin at 6 p.m.

The Speaker Series is presented by the TAMIU A. R. Sanchez, Jr. School of Business Center for the Study of Western Hemispheric Trade and sponsored by IBC Bank and Commerce Bank.

As water becomes progressively scarce, no one denies that water possesses enormous economic value. Free-market economists emphasize the wide variety of benefits associated with water markets, including the efficient distribution of a scarce resource. As the water supply dwindles, economic theory predicts that, other things being equal, the price of water will rise.

Far from being unfavorable, this incentivizes the owners of water to either conserve it or sell it to buyers who will. Given such advantages, most economists do not explicitly recognize any moral limits to buying and selling water. However, some environmental thinkers have argued that, because water is a human right, it should never be bought and sold in the marketplace.

From this limited purview, the choice is stark. Either water markets are to be left completely unbridled, without any moral limits, or the human right to water entails that no water market should be sanctioned.

Dr. DesRoches’ talk will engage a philosophical conception of the human right to water and argue against both of these views. While the human right to water entails that some water markets should be blocked, DesRoches suggests that there is no necessary connection between commodifying some water and violating the human right to water.

Dr. DesRoches has a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of British Columbia, and his areas of specialization include the history and philosophy of economics, human well-being, and sustainability. Formerly, DesRoches was a forest economist with Natural Resources Canada and a sessional lecturer in the Department of Philosophy and Vancouver School of Economics at the University of British Columbia.

He is a founding editor of the Erasmus Journal of Philosophy and Economics, and a co-founder of the Canadian Society for Environmental Philosophy/Société Canadienne de Philosophie Environnementale. He has published articles in several peer-reviewed journals and his first book, edited with Byron Williston and Frank Jankunis, is entitled, Canadian Environmental Philosophy (2019). Currently, DesRoches is writing a monograph entitled, Sustainability without Sacrifice: A Philosophical Analysis of Human Well-Being and Consumption (under contract with Oxford University Press).

For more information, contact Amy Palacios, associate director, Center for the Study of Western Hemispheric Trade, at 326.2820 or amy@tamiu.edu or visit offices in Western Hemispheric Trade Center, room 221.

Additional information is available at  facebook.com/tamiucswht.

TAMIU is celebrating its 50th anniversary and its 25th anniversary at its north Laredo campus throughout 2019-2020.  A dedicated website shares the University’s transformation from a hybrid upper-level university to a full doctoral degree-granting University. It includes a calendar of Anniversary events and more at tamiu.edu/50.

For more on the University’s story, contact the TAMIU Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at 956.326.2180, email prmis@tamiu.edu, click on tamiu.edu, follow social media channels on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter or YouTube, or visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 268.