ABSTRACT

Neoliberalizing nature spreads widely across diverse fields and areas. Commodifying water is the most frequent case conflicting with the stance, water as commons. This paper reviews the commodity versus commons debate in other countries leading to the importance of wider perspective considering regional contexts, and then examines the case of Jeju with that regard entirely depending freshwater on underground acquifer. In Jeju, the sale of bottled water by private corporation has been in confrontation with the declaration of water as commons by Jeju government. But, the commodity versus commons conflict over water hinders more important concerns such as the abundant use by tourism related hotels and golf courses, the free largest agricultural use, and the production and sale of bottled water by Jeju government itself. The real focus of concern should be given to the constraints on increasing water rate for tourism businesses, charging fees on agriculture, and the local development imperatives. The dual stance of Jeju government in promoting water as commodity as well as promulgating water as commons seems to be a case adding diversity to the geography of neoliberalizing nature.

KEYWORD

neoliberalization, nature, water, commodification, commons, underground water, Jeju-do

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