Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"Ask an Economist: Which Bond Villain Plan Would Have Worked (and Which Not)?"

Quantum of Solace
Plot: Scheming environmentalist Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) wants to dam Bolivia’s fresh water supply to create a monopoly. Then, he’s going to help a Bolivian general stage a coup d’├ętat, but not before he forces the general to sign a contract making Greene’s company the sole water supplier of Bolivia, at much higher prices.

Plausibility: “This is another plot based on history,” Dethier says. “There were a lot of privatizations of the water supply systems in Latin America some years ago. Many of them were bought by a French multinational. It didn’t work. They realized it was impossible to manage. They had huge problems with poorer communities, and eventually had to withdraw. There was so much opposition, and people were constantly disrupting the infrastructure these companies were trying to control. There’s actually a very good film about this, set in Bolivia, called Even the Rain, starring Gael Garcia Bernal.”