Just 128 miles from Flint, Nestlé pays the state of Michigan just $200 per year to extract millions of gallons of clean water.
A Tale of Two Cities tells the story of two very different Michigan communities—picturesque, small town Evart and gritty, industrial Flint— who have found their futures inextricably linked by a threat to the one thing that all life requires: water.
The film explores the growing threat of water privatization and what happens when the government runs a critical function, like providing clean drinking water, as if it were a business.
After years of progressively damaging cost-cutting measures that favor corporate interests throughout the state of Michigan, Flint’s water crisis made international news. Four years later, many still rely on bottled water for their everyday needs and have some of the highest water rates in the country.
Despite the state’s failure to protect its people’s access to water in Flint — and its intentional deprivation of water to thousands in Detroit — the multinational corporation Nestlé nets massive profits from of the state’s abundant water sources. Nestle pumps mere hours away from Flint, outside of Evart, paying only a $200 annual permit fee and nothing for the water itself.
In 1997, the World Bank made privatization of the public water system of Bolivia’s third largest city, Cochabamba, a condition of the country receiving further aid for water development. That led, in September 1999, to a 40-year concession granted to a company led by Bechtel. Within weeks of taking over the city’s water, Bechtel’s Bolivian company, Aguas del Tunari, raised rates by more than 50 percent and in many cases much higher.
In summary: Global institutions like the WMF are conspiring with multinational corporations like Nestlé to turn us all into serfs and wage slaves while they profit from our labor and shared natural resources. That is THE conspiracy.