In the 1990s, the government of a South American country decided to privatise water utilities supplying water for 60 per cent of Argentinians. The newly privatised companies, namely a consortium led by the France-based multinational Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux, turned out to be more efficient, invested more in the infrastructure and generally provided better services than the state utilities, a study concluded.
Infant mortality, a tangible proof of improved well-being, decreased by eight per cent in Argentina. The authors distinctly attribute this phenomenon to the water utility privatisation. The typical cliché that water privatisation harms the poor has not proven true again: the poorest benefited the most from the reduced infant mortality.