Friday, March 28, 2014

Considerations in Breaking a Water Monopoly

Some wholesale customers of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) worry about retribution in terminating (supposed) contractual obligations with DWSD.

I question whether a monopoly in essential services like DWSD even qualifies as a party to a contract.

The essence of a contract is agreement as the result of bargaining, more precisely arms-length bargaining.  Bargaining like that is impossible with a monopoly such as DWSD.

There may be an understanding as to which goes first, your left foot or your right foot, but there’s no contract.  One foot doesn't expect to sue the other foot over who goes first. They are both creatures of a greater whole.

Furthermore, when one party to an understanding robs the other parties blind, it would be insane to suggest that the victims are obliged to submit themselves to the risk of further abuses.

The rule should be that, where one creature of the state has a monopoly in essential services like water and acts dishonestly, another creature of the state which is a recipient of those services should be free to break the monopoly without retribution.

Indeed, that was the result in terminating the relationship between DWSD and Genesee County, Flint, et al.

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