John Anthony Allan’s “Virtual Water”: Natural Resources Management in the Wake of Neoliberalism
Virtual water is heralded as the solution to unequal access to freshwater. British geographer John Anthony Allan invented the concept, advocating that it would allow water-scarce nations to effectively import freshwater through international trade. Yet virtual water was not widely adopted until after Allan was awarded a prestigious prize for his idea in 2008. While advances in modeling have surely also contributed to the uptake of the concept, the role of prestigious prizes on intellectual movements is understudied. Increased use has not led to more nuance—virtual water ignores ecological constraints, like watersheds. Virtual water is an example of the neoliberalization of nature, using water as liquid capital.
Copyright (c) 2018 CC BY 4.0 Kaitlin Stack Whitney and Kristoffer Whitney
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