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The politics of water, by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst

Cover of  by William Houston andRobin Griffiths

"Of these two attempts to analyse our relationship with water, Houston and Griffiths's is the more serious. It is also startlingly eccentric. Sceptical about global warming as a man-made process, they root their thinking in Raymond Wheeler's theory that climate changes follow natural cycles and are mirrored by changes in human civilisation. One might expect a degree of caution regarding the conclusions of a Twenties psychologist whose key cultural indicators included "Nudism" and "Decadence", but it fits well with the nostalgic air of their writing.

They argue that the coming struggle for water will diminish "such life-debilitating habits as obesity and laziness" and look forward to the day when "a latter-day Winston Churchill" will emerge to lead the nation into a frugal future. Perhaps they will turn out to be prophets. For Houston and Griffiths, sharing technology such as Israel's irrigation systems could help improve living standards worldwide - a literal form of trickle-down economics."

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