Value-Rent-Finance in the hydrosocial cycle

Authors: Alex Loftus*, King's College London, Hug March*, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology
Keywords: water, infrastructure, value, rent, financialisation
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: 8201, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper seeks to apply the value-rent-finance analytic to the case of water infrastructure in England and Wales. Focusing in particular on the case of Thames Water, while situating it in relation to emerging debates around renationalization of the water sector, we seek to make sense of the changing fortunes of water provision in England and Wales. In the present moment, through processes of financialisation fixed and stable assets have been transformed into liquid assets, opening up new investment opportunities for sovereign wealth funds and pension fund investors. The super-profits made by these financial actors are best conceptualized as forms of rent, derived in part from the monopoly ownership of a basic need. We conclude by thinking through the likely implication of water financialisation for future infrastructural arrangements, paying particular attention to calls for remunicipalisation and renationalization, applying the value-rent-finance analytic throughout.

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