The Wealth of Thirsty Nations: Adam Smith’s Modern Butcher, Baker & Brewer Will Secure ‘Revenue Streams’ From Water-Stressed Supply Chains If Firms and Families Can Exchange Equitable Shares of Our Ultimate Liquid Asset


The universal currency of the 21st Century is drying up into a 40% global deficit. Every continent depletes aquifers; over-allocates rivers; endangers aquatic biodiversity; borrows against future rains; and ignites increasingly fatal water resource conflicts. A thirsty supply chain impacts brand names and bottom lines. And therein lies hope. Adam Smith’s logic about our ‘propensity to truck, barter and exchange’ can turn conflict into collaboration and scarcity into abundance if society begins to own and exchange equitable shares of the ultimate liquid asset. Business leaders who measure their water footprint can help embattled officials unlock virtual green ‘click’ markets within natural ‘brick and mortar’ water monopolies to unleash the true potential of the blue economy.

Chapter published in: [Scott G. McNall, James C. Hershauer and George Basile, (Editors). The Business of Sustainability: Trends, Policies, Practices and Stories of Success, I, II, III. New York: Praeger Press, October 2011.]

The Wealth of Thirsty Nations

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