flint water protests Bill Pugliano/ Stringer via getty images

When Democracy Fails the People

The Nobel laureate Amartya Sen asserted that famines don't happen in democracies, because the government is accountable to its citizens – a dictum that should also apply to water. But, as the recent revelations about the water supply in Flint, Michigan, demonstrate, elected leaders are more than capable of failing their people.

NEW YORK – Nobel laureate Amartya Sen famously suggested that famines do not occur in democracies, because accountable governments will do everything they can to avoid mass starvation. The same reasoning should apply to clean drinking water; like food, it is a resource that is indispensable for our survival and wellbeing.