Basic Needs and Basic Rights

Occasionally I see people being outraged about the idea of putting a market price on everyday water usage (see here for background on a perennial example involving Nestle).  The idea seems to
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Occasionally I see people being outraged about the idea of putting a market price on everyday water usage (see here for background on a perennial example involving Nestle).  The idea seems to be that since water is a basic need, so we should have a basic right to its free provision.  This seems a pretty bad inference in general -- food is also a basic need, after all, and it seems unlikely that its centralized provision would do better than current food markets.  The heart of the problem, I think, rests on a misunderstanding of the proper relation between basic needs and rights. (Well, that and economic illiteracy.)Compare two alternatives:(1) A direct right to the (free) provision of some good (e.g. water) for all.(2) A right to an institutional framework that secures, as well as possible, reliable access for all to the good in question.The second kind of right is more desirable, more feasible, and hence overall provides a better way to understand the rights. . .

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