This is an analogy, so I am properly ashamed. I’ll put it under the fold so innocents don’t have to see if they don’t want to.
I feel like my conversations with (almost all) water market enthusiasts go like this:
Them: I want matches!
Me: You do? What for? What kind of matches?
Them: Really want ’em. Matches are good.
Me: Ok, but what do you want matches for?
Them: A lot of matches. Some of them long handled matches, too. Right now, I don’t have matches, so that is bad.
Me: Do you want to start a fire? Do you want to play pick-up sticks? Do you want to build a mini log cabin? What are the matches FOR? We have other things that might get you what you want even better, if you tell me what you want.
Them: We need policies that will get me lots and lots of matches. Other countries have matches.
Me: Most times, matches are for fires. Do you want a little fire in a fireplace to keep you warm? Do you want a controlled burn for fuels removal? Do you want to start a forest fire? What do you WANT?
Them: I want MATCHES. MATCHES!!!! MAAAATTTCCHHEESS!
So I went around my house this morning shouting MATCHES like a four year old and had a great time of it. You can do the same thing with HAMMER! But the point is that most people arguing for water markets aren’t arguing for a purpose, they’re arguing for a tool. I think that markets are a great big jackhammer of a tool, so before we pull that out, I want to know what we’ll have when we’re done. Convince me that the end state is good, and a great big jackhammer is the way to get it done, and I’m in. Until you do that, I’m gonna keep asking what we’re getting out the matches FOR.