Rio's contaminated waters are a stark reminder about the way we treat human waste
. . . Rio, and its polluted waters are a reminder of why we should strive for individual liberty, reformed religions, free markets, and republican governance. Brazil has none of these, it has corrupted government, socialist policies which hamper the free market, and highly limited individual liberty due to socialist policies.
The authors goals are laudable: "As the Rio Olympics proceed, and we hope for the health and safety of the elite athletes competing in contaminated waters, let us also consider – and work to improve sanitary conditions for – the billions of people worldwide who daily suffer the health consequences of living in an environment contaminated with human waste." As is the author's advice regarding sewage treatment. However the problem will not be solved with a bit of money from the US, and some good advice. A durable solution requires solving the socio/political problems.
Brazils poverty is driven by government, and by people in power who believe the game is zero sum. They, like all progressives, have drawn up the ladder, and will allow no others entry. The result is poverty, pollution, crime, and desperation. Notice in the chart: "Percent of wastewater that is treated before disposal" the percentage treated declines with socialism, reduction in free markets, and individual liberty. This is unsurprising, since these are the elements necessary to create wealth, and it is wealth which creates the pressure, from the people, to create change particularly regarding pollution.
Until the average person in Brazil is wealthier, pollution will continue, because the average person in Brazil in more concerned with the essentials of survival, not pollution.
Failing to understand how and why pollution declined in the wealthy industrialized nations means the policies crafted to solve the problem elsewhere will fail. Just as not knowing how disease worked resulted in quack medical treatments like cupping, and blood letting. Ironic, no cupping made a comeback in Rio as well! Nonsense beliefs are very difficult to root out.
"Machiavelli said, 'The reason there will be no change is because the people who stand to lose from change have all the power; and the people who stand to gain from change have none of the power.'"
People believe this implicitly, but the underlying sentiment that drives this statement is false. It requires belief in the zero sum universe, which is a false belief. The universe is not zero sum. There is no reason the haves should lose anything by allowing the have-nots opportunity. They will have to work harder, be more productive, more creative, and provide better service, but all can achieve in this world.
This will not happen in Brazil because the wealthy, the powerful, do not want it to happen. They like their low effort sinecures, and do not want someone from the hoi polloi to knock them down a notch, or eclipsing their wealth with even greater. They will maintain the status quo, poverty, to keep their sinecures.
The US should be dropping Declaration of Independence leaflets on these people every day. There is no reason they should live in poverty so others can retain their status. The US should be a disruptive element in the world. Instead we have been all but destroyed by the Cold War mentality, which rigidified us into an us versus them mentality, assuming our "allies" are worth supporting no matter how venal, or deadly. They are not.
We can do better, we can throw off the Cold War mentality yoke of our progressive oppressors, and then offer the downtrodden of the world the lifeline they so desire, whether Brazil, or Saudi Arabia, or any other hellishly tyrannical government.
Or we can follow the Obama model, enjoy our sinecures, take lots of long, expensive vacations, and forget about the worlds problems. You know, retire!