Dr. Edward C. Hamlyn M.B.Ch.B.

The Johannesburg debate on sustainable economics tried to decide whether it is possible to survive by following the rat race route.

It may not be clear to those who took part at the Earth Summit, that in fact they were looking at the chances of life being compatible with commercial warfare.

The participants may not even be aware that they are in a global war. A free for all fight for survival in a disintegrating world market.

They may even aspire to a free global market without knowing what the market actually is.

They may well imagine that it is a market place where goods and services are exchanged for the potential benefit of all, and then wonder how or why there could be any difficulty in an age of high technology, where everything is possible.

It will be impossible for those who really care about the future of this lovely little planet of ours, to carve out a realistic future for us, because they do not have the relevant data.

If those of us who did not have to suffer the heat of the kitchen in South Africa, would take a cool look at the whole scene without prejudice or short sighted self interest, we could turn the failure of the Earth Summit into a triumph.

Let us go back to basics and agree that economics should be the study of how to produce and distribute the goods and services required by the human race for its survival.

If we could agree that this is a reasonable statement of what economics should be, then we could also agree that a basic, essential and fundamental requirement is a competent, reliable and trustworthy means of exchange.

The human race at this time in its history has chosen money as the global means of exchange.

Having elected to use money for that vital purpose, the human race has failed to define what the word money means.

As a result, we have credit as a synonym for money and then we have debt as a synonym for credit.

We find ourselves using debt as a global currency.

The human race on planet Earth owes more money than could ever be redeemed in all eternity.

That situation makes fair trading impossible and we have instead commercial warfare.

In that war we are persuaded to desire more than we need or want, so that we produce in excess and consume in excess, whilst at the same time, with no competent means of exchange, we fail to distribute that which we produce and violate the most basic of all human rights.

That all men of whatever race, colour or creed were created with equal rights and that all men have inalienable rights to their own lives.

When economics fails to distribute what is required by the human race to live, then we, as a civilisation, fail.

It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to correct what is amiss with modern economics, that such a huge proportion of the human race has no right to live.

President, International Association for Monetary Reform.