A view from the South

An Interview with Chee Yoke Ling

Chee Yoke Ling is honorary secretary of Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Friends of the Earth, Malaysia). A lawyer by training, she has focused on national environmental issues since 1981. Chee also works with the Penang, Malaysia -based Third World Network on international issues relating to the environment, development and international institutions.

Multinational Monitor: What would you say is at stake at UNCED?

 Chee Yoke Ling: What is at stake here are the hopes that many of us working on environmental, developmental and health issues have had for many years.

We have always wanted to see much more regulation and control over corporations, especially corporations operating across boundaries, which have had little or no accountability for their activities to the public or even to their shareholders. We want to see a movement towards international law which would regulate TNCs [transnational corporations], building on the code of conduct that has been negotiated in the UN for the last 15 or 20 years.

The question is whether we are going to lose the opportunity to fully acknowledge the fundamental nature of the global environmental and development crisis, to find out who the players are, and to bring those players under control.

MM: What is the real UNCED agenda?

 Chee: What is becoming very clear is that the interests of governments in the North are really at the heart of the agenda. There has been enough non-governmental organization lobbying and work done around the Earth Summit to bring to the agenda issues like debt inequities, international economic relations and institutions like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which are reinforcing unsustainable production and consumption, but UNCED is not actually dealing with these issues. The agenda is one of barest minimum consensus.

The industrial countries do not want to change fundamentally, they do not want to control runaway economic exploitation, they do not want to control the players and TNCs who are at the heart of it. The North is saying, "Slow down your growth; we won't, but we want you to."

 A lot of the agenda says that any changes that should be taken to accommodate global environmental needs have to be done by the developing countries: "Have fewer people, don't cut your forests, use less resources, slow down your growth." But if we don't have economic growth, we can't deal with poverty, so it's a very vicious cycle. Northern countries cannot tell developing countries to solve the environment problem, but not deal with the pressures that are on developing countries - whether it is debt or an export market that we are tied to - to keep exploiting resources. It is asking for the impossible.

In the end, however, the environment is not really on the agenda of either North or South. The goal of both North and South is to keep growing.

MM: One of the big areas of discussion here is how much aid is going to go from North to South. Is that really a question that people should be looking at?

 Chee: I think what [the North] does with aid is misleading. One of the things that has come out in the Earth Summit discussions to some extent is that there is such a massive flow of resources from the South to the North now, in terms of the financial flow, debt repayments, royalty payments, etc. Something like $200 billion a year is going from South to North, and about $50 billion is coming back in so-called aid.

If we look at the flow, then we have to rethink and reformulate our perceptions. Our image is that the North is rich and the South is poor. But if we look at the reality, the South is where all the resources are, the South is where more and more production is going on. And the products are going to Northern enterprises; in that sense, much of the wealth of the North is the result of the exploitation of the resources of the South.

The question is, first of all, how to share more equally, how to really deal with the more fundamental questions of trade relations and equity. You will have a better trading system if you deal with the debt issue. If you relieve the debt pressure, then the pressure on developing countries to exploit their resources will be reduced, and they will be able to develop their resources for their own benefit. Then they won't need that much aid.

Secondly, much of the so-called aid never actually goes to the countries in the South or to the people who need it. A lot of the aid is not free; it is not grants, but loans. And a lot of the aid is actually recycled back to the North through projects, technology, materials and equipment. Much of the money that is coming in is tied to projects which siphon the money out to the North. It is not aid to the South, it is a subsidy to the people who are going to implement those projects. If we ask for more aid, at this point specifically, we're not going to solve the problem, because the more money we are asking for, the more will be recycled back to the North. And if new money goes with the usual kind of development project, then, in the name of the environment, this new agreement will actually be used for more exploitation.

Of course, that's not to say we don't need money. I think there are areas where money is needed, for reorganization and pollution control, for example, but you can't just have a little money for that, when at the same time more money is going towards exploiting resources. So we must look at how the rest of the money for development is being used, and how investments are being used. Otherwise, we are trying to reform while the fundamental development policy continues to be anti-people and anti-nature.

MM: One of the specific proposed conduits for transferring new aid is the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). What's your critique of that entity?

Chee: Given the fact that some money is needed, who controls the money and making sure that it goes to good projects become important issues. The UNCED process and the two conventions are going to generate billions of dollars, and there has been a lot of discussion on where the money should go.

Some two and a half years ago, the World Bank, United Nations Development Program and United Nations Environment Program formed the Global Environmental Facility. It was actually the initiative of the French and German governments, which decided to create a global fund as a result of public pressure to put money into the environment. These two countries wanted the fund to be managed by not just the World Bank but by some aspect of the UN system.

This tripartite system appears to be something that's new and innovative, but our study of the structure of the GEF shows that essentially it's the World Bank which controls the money and approves the projects. Given that fact, whatever money comes into the GEF will then go to an institution which has a bad record on the environment and a bad record on social issues, and which has created a lot of poverty in the Third World. We don't believe the World Bank is the solution to change things, and the GEF, because it is controlled by the World Bank, is going to perpetuate the problem.

The United States and some other countries are pushing very hard for the GEF to be the only mechanism for whatever money comes out of UNCED. We believe that that will actually put money into a very destructive institution and will mean more problems for those of us in the countries where the money's going to come to.

MM: Another contentious issue here has been the biodiversity treaty, with most attention being focused on whether the United States is going to sign it. What is your assessment of the treaty itself, as well as the U.S. attitude towards it?

 Chee: Everyone is very angry [at the United States for not signing], believing that the treaty protects biodiversity. But if you look at the biodiversity treaty and its provisions, it is essentially about: access to biodiversity; who will own the germplasm that is collected from countries in the South where most of biodiversity lies; who owns the biotechnology; and who is going to be able to have the monopoly over the profits made from selling the biotechnology products derived from the biodiversity. The ordinary person in the world looks at the Biodiversity Convention as a conservation treaty, but the fight is really over access, patents and profits.

 Biodiversity has tremendous economic value if you link it with biotechnology. The Bush administration had announced that something like $4 billion a year comes from the biotechnology industry, and they want to see it increase to $50 billion a year. This is one area where the United States is still in the lead.

A critical point we have to understand is that there are a lot of institutions under the World Bank umbrella, like the International Rice Research Institute, that have been collecting seeds, especially agricultural crops, for decades. And the biggest issue all along was: who owns those seeds? Farmers from many countries donate seeds, and these gene banks are holding them as trustees for the world community, for the security of the future. Who owns the seeds in those gene banks has always been a big issue. The biodiversity treaty right now does not deal with the ownership of all those gene banks. It deals with ownership of biodiversity when the convention comes into force. Ownership of biodiversity then comes to belong to national governments where the biodiversity rests. It has not dealt with the existing gene banks. That is why in the last few weeks there have been a lot of moves to start patenting by the international institutions where the seed banks are kept and by the U.S. national seed banks, which also have a lot of biodiversity collections from the South. Because the Biodiversity Convention has failed to deal with who owns those seeds, the South has sacrificed all the seeds currently in the gene banks.

MM: Why has Bush refused to sign the treaty if it confers advantages on U.S. biotech companies?

 Chee: The United States is very clever, we feel. There are provisions in the treaty about biosafety, which the developing countries see as winning points, about controlling biotechnology research and release of genetically modified organisms, there are provisions that say that new technology must be made available at preferential and concessional terms, and not just the market rate. Bush is saying "I'm not going to sign it because of these things," and the whole world is attacking him. Countries are rushing to sign it, just to say to the United States, "You are a bad guy but we are good guys." But half the treaty is actually very good for TNCs because it allows ownership to be asserted by those who hold the gene banks, thus ensuring access by TNCs and subsequent patenting of the products.

Many of us are beginning to think it could be a ploy on the part of the United States to concede in the negotiations on certain key things like access to technology and biosafety, which it does not really like, and then won't sign. Even without the United States signing, this treaty will come into existence, because it only needs 30 signatures. So the United States is the bad guy, but the TNCs that wanted ownership over the materials in the gene banks once and for all have gotten their way. And we think the United States will probably sign later, to show that it has given in to public pressure, and everyone will be very happy. It's then open to the United States to negotiate changes in the treaty.

 Countries will be eager to have the United States join, because they think they will then be able to get access to U.S. biotechnology. So the United States will come in and sign, but on condition that the provisions like biosafety and access to technology be weakened. I think that may be the scenario.

MM: What is your opinion of the discussion on population control at the Earth Summit?

Chee: I think one of the positive aspects of UNCED is that we have managed to create more fundamental debate on population control. The attempt at the beginning of UNCED was to promote the idea that reducing population - and population means essentially the population of the South - is the key issue of environmental preservation. We have been able to debate this issue and to identify that wasteful and unnecessary consumption is a major if not the major cause of environmental degradation and resource depletion.

When you talk about population control, people are always saying, "Oh, all these people are going to eat up all the resources." It's a very selfish and very racist underlying reaction. If one person in the North consumes eight times more than a person in the South, you should have fewer people in the North! For each person you cut down in the North, you're going to cut down consumption by eight times.

 There are people who say if you are against policies that cut down on the number of people, then you are against family planning. That is not true. Population control and family planning are not equivalent concepts.

There are many studies to show that where people are poor, there's so much insecurity that having more children makes economic sense. If you have high mortality rates, then you must have more children to make sure you have children who will be able to grow up. Even in the South, once there are better social amenities, and people are economically more secure, almost automatically the number of children is reduced. So family planning is something that every relatively secure family or couple begins to exercise as a natural course anyway.

Where you have a lot of people, it's usually because there is poverty, and poverty is created not by these poor people being useless and helpless, but because they have been deprived of resources, which have been taken away for a few other people.

Additionally there are a lot of groups working on how population control policies funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development or the World Bank or other agencies have caused a lot of human rights violations. When we say that population control is very dangerous, that it is a myth that population is the major cause of environmental degradation, and furthermore that population control is a violation of human rights, a lot of people get very angry. But we are against forced contraception, forced sterilization and the dumping of hazardous contraceptive products in the name of population control.

I think UNCED has created a lot of debate around this issue. I think the women's group has run a series of very significant debates around this issue. And I think we need to build more understanding.

MM: Will the perspectives that Third World and women's groups have voiced here on the population issue influence the 1994 UN Population Summit?

 Chee: I think the Population Summit is designed to aggressively push for national population control policies. UNCED has been quite good in the sense that it has started a debate, and I think it has actually sent a message to a lot of people who at the beginning were very pro-cut down the numbers, and who are now talking very differently. So we have started a process of a wider and better understanding of the population issue, and we need to build this up. At the Population Summit there will be so much publicity about numbers again, and there will be all these pictures of starving Africans. But if you look at population all over the world, Africa isn't overpopulated, Europe and Japan are, in terms of human per hectare density, and certainly in terms of consumption of resources per capita.

Consumption is really the key issue. Countries in the North, especially the United States, are saying that consumption is a personal matter, it's a matter of personal choice and [individual] rights, and that the state cannot intervene with consumption. And yet they tell us that population control is something that the state should enforce! So, where's the human rights and respect for the people of the South? Consumption is a personal right, but how many children you want, what you want to do to your body, is international policy and World Bank policy. That itself is a basic contradiction.

MM: Does focusing on consumption take attention away from the way things are produced, and on who is making the production choices?

Chee: We can't be simplistic about it, and we have to go into more detail to [address] the way goods are produced. There can be less wastefulness, less pollution, by fixing the production technology.

When we talk about how consumption must be reduced, it is because consumption is a direct pressure on resources and the creation of waste. Not just at the production level, but at the consumption level, the garbage that we throw out. People have to actually consume a lot less as a general principle. Green technology and environmentally friendly products may be good in one sense, but it does not change the fact that you are still going to use more and more resources, and that is unsustainable. Many of the things we consume we don't need. We can have a simpler lifestyle and it doesn't mean we are less fulfilled or happy, we all know that.

For industry, people's consumption must increase in order to increase production and profits, and in doing that resources will always be drained. The advertising industry is a key component in making people consume more and more. The whole process of fashion is really one of the major keys to increasing consumption. Something is fashionable now, but in six months you must wear something else. And when the same lifestyle and culture is promoted through television around the world, then everybody, including the poorest person in any part of the world, wants to live that lifestyle which is unsustainable. How we look at media and advertising is very important, because of the values promoted there.

When we say we have to adjust, we're not asking everybody across the board in the North to give up equally. We need to have social equity and redistribution of wealth within each country. The elite and the big middle class of the North as well as the elite of the South must give up more. That doesn't mean that poor people who are in the North should be giving up [resources]. They also don't have enough. So I think we need to work out a plan of action for people in the North who are poor and who have a right to more for even their basic needs. But at the same time, there is a whole group of people who are overusing, overconsuming and have more wealth then they'll ever need. In pure environmental terms, we cannot afford to have that kind of wealth generated and accumulated, because it is at the expense of the environment and other people.

MM: You are pessimistic about the likely outcome of this conference. How could it turn out negatively given the great scrutiny and involvement of so many non- governmental organizations?

 Chee: This is a big gathering of NGOs, but I don't think everyone here working on issues at the local and national level have been able to monitor developments at the international level. The battle fought out among governments and the powerful role played by TNCs throughout the negotiations leading up to the conference are not fully known to most NGOs.

For instance, the corporations have been consistently lobbying at every UNCED negotiation. And because their interests are at stake, they organized very well. They also have served on advisory boards, they even serve on governmental delegations as technical experts. So in a sense the scrutiny is not a scrutiny of equal strength on both sides.

Public control over the process has been very weak. And that is very easy to understand; how many NGOs are there that were able to attend every negotiation session over the past two years and have full access to information? The whole thing is not designed for popular scrutiny. It's designed to really be kept within a very small circle, and then it's going to be put into place as international law. Most of the governments negotiating don't even know what's happening, they don't understand the issues.

Of course, we cannot deny that there have been some benefits from UNCED. It brought together for the first time in one forum, citizens and NGOs from diverse backgrounds and struggles. Many countries actually had national discussions on environmental and development issues. It brought together governments to talk about these issues. Negotiating has been a very interesting learning process for even the diplomats involved, because they've been made to address those issues. Not perfectly, not the way we would like to have seen it, but at least it is a beginning.

Other issues were not dealt with, and should be dealt with. But in a way I think we couldn't have expected any more. Everybody wants to see their interests protected. We want to see environmental interests and social interests more protected. The TNCs want to see their interests more protected. And in this whole battle, given the unequal strength of the different interests, we have obviously lost the struggle in the immediate sense, in the short term, especially in the contents of the biodiversity and climate change treaties. But, for the long term, I think we have become very much more exposed to the international aspects of our work.

MM: What will be the role of NGOs in the aftermath of UNCED?

 Chee: Because Agenda 21 is not law, it's not legally binding. Which means that even though it may be accepted, that is not the end of the story. Once treaties are signed, they do become international law. But international law has to be implemented, it doesn't come to pass by itself. Even if the Biodiversity Convention gets signed, in the end how do you enforce biodiversity protection? In the end we will still have to monitor it.

I think that if nothing else, the NGOs here can be alerted to the dangers of some of the things coming out of UNCED. If we can be alerted to some of the positive aspects in the Biodiversity Convention like biosafety, then we must work to not allow the good aspects to be watered down. At the same time, we have to expose the weak aspects to exert pressure so that we can at least control the process to some extent. Because it doesn't end in Rio.

The Earth Summit has created some new obstacles and opened up some new doors. NGOs and movements must access what is actually coming out of UNCED. Then we can identify the areas we need to concentrate on.

I think one clear area is public education on TNCs. We must continue to lobby for national legislation, and we shouldn't give up hope that the code of conduct on TNCs that's been shelved can be adopted and enforced. It has been left out deliberately and schematically and we should keep pushing for it, because governments are getting further and further away from corporate accountability.

 Let's have consumer boycotts and consumer actions, because these companies do have to rely on people to buy their products. I think we have to go back to action in a concrete way. We also need to demand that our governments not give up too easily. There are many more things we can do. We are best at national movements.

But the thing is how to connect internationally our national struggles and national campaigns. If we don't see the connection, then we feel helpless. We can say TNCs are getting very strong, but what are TNCs? TNCs like Mitsubishi, Ciba- Geigy, DuPont, Shell. are affecting our lives in a daily manner. We need to look at the global aspect to understand how the local campaigns have to be much more focused. It's not going to be easy. But we have no choice.


A Warning from Bermuda

An Interview with Stuart Hayward

Stuart Jackson Hayward has been a member of parliament in Bermuda since 1989. The first independent elected since the advent of party politics in Bermuda, he represents a platform of social and environmental activism, stressing the importance of ecological health as the basis of the island's economy. Hayward co-authored Bermuda's Delicate Balance, published in 1981. While the Bermuda Government declined an invitation to send an official representative to the Earth Summit in Rio, Hayward sought private funding to attend on behalf of his country.

Multinational Monitor: What are the central elements of Bermuda's economic model?

 Stuart Hayward: Bermuda is mainly a tourist economy, and also has a sector that deals with international finance, where international companies set up an office for the transfer of money or for doing reinsurance business. The economic model is the one that exists in most Western nations: anything that results in profit without being illegal is okay. It's a model based on continuous growth.

What has happened in Bermuda is that the pace of growth has outstripped the ability of our social and our physical environment to accommodate it. We had such rapid development in the 1970s that people had more money than they knew what to do with. A lot of money went to the purchase of consumer electronics, and great quantities of surplus funds went to construction and development. In the 1970s and 1980s, the construction industry grew to such a degree that we had to import people to staff it. Any slight downturn in the economy resulted in a lot of unemployment in the construction industry.

In Bermuda, we have 20 square miles and 60,000 people. That's 3,000 people per square mile, as compared to 60 per square mile for the United States and six per square mile for Canada. We have a more dense population than any other oceanic island and most countries. Even countries that are considered to be densely populated, like the Netherlands, Bangladesh or Japan, are all far below that figure of 3,000 per square mile. Yet our local fertility is not enough to provide a sufficient workforce for the economy to grow, so we have to import people to work. So here are two things which are working against each other. The population is already so high as to cause environmental problems, but for the economy to continue to grow, we have to import additional people.

We import most of our food. One area that has been clearly documented is the importation of fish. We import three quarters of our fish consumption. But, in 1991, we were forced to shut down the biggest portion of our fishing industry, the trap fishing industry, because the fish stocks were being decimated beyond their ability to recover. That means that we over-extracted from our fish supply for just one quarter of our fish consumption. Looking at it another way, if we were to rely solely on local fish for our fish consumption, then we would be only able to supply a population of less than a quarter of what we do now.

Perhaps the most significant way of looking at it is to extend our economic model to another country. From where would a country like Japan import three quarters of its fish consumption? Or from where would a country like the United States import three quarters of its fish consumption? Let's assume that the emerging nations of Europe and Africa and Asia and Latin America buy into and proceed with Bermuda's development model. They will find that it's just not possible. There is not a place from which the entire world can buy fish. They don't sell fish on Mars. There is no place from which the entire world can import additional labor; there are no humans on Mars. There is no place from which the entire world can import its produce or meat.

Bermuda is an ideal test tube, if you will, for what is going to happen, for what we can anticipate with economies around the globe, if they adopt the current model that's touted in the Western world.

MM: What has fueled the high rates of growth in Bermuda?

 Hayward: Two things. One is that is in 1968 we moved to the Westminster system of government. The party system was imported wholesale, and the people who ran the country before formed the largest party, so they continue to run the government. Their claim to fame is that they have provided more economic satisfaction for a greater portion of the population. They see their legitimacy as tied to the economic growth model. So they have promoted and fostered it. Because they in essence represent the merchant class, it has tied in with that group's objectives.

The other element has been the rapid [growth] of tourism and international business, which were allowed to grow without sufficient controls. After World War II, the U.S. economy expanded. Americans' disposable incomes expanded, and so they started to spend it on travel. The rapid growth of tourism from the United States provided more money for Bermuda. Also transnational corporations and U.S. companies that wanted to do things like reinsurance and global money management found Bermuda an attractive place from which to operate. We didn't take fly-by-night companies or ones that didn't meet certain criteria, but still the growth was not controlled. For many people the situation was ideal, because money just kept coming in.

Partially growth resulted from the avariciousness of our people; as more money came in, the more we wanted. And this perhaps is the really serious problem with growth- oriented economies. Say you were starting a new business, or a new country, and you wanted to have a growth curve. What would that curve look like? What would its shape be, and what would its end point be? We deal with growth as if it has no end point, as if it just goes up forever. So you have a growth in population, a growth in appetites, and the curve takes a direction that is absolutely unsustainable.

MM: What are some of the resulting social problems that you have seen in Bermuda?

 Hayward: Bermuda had a history of being cordial. We were an extremely hospitable people, and that was basically because we were content. Now, with people having got on this fast track of wanting growth, we don't have time to be cordial anymore. Always looking for more here, for more there, and trying to keep somebody else from getting more from you has resulted in accumulated stress that has left people just more cranky. We're a lot more volatile, a lot less sociable.

If the United States sneezes, we catch a cold, because most of our tourists come through the United States. When the U.S. economy goes into recession, ours does automatically. So we are having a dip in the economic growth, and when you have large numbers of people who have bought into the growth economy, and suddenly they find that they can't grow anymore - whether they are business people who are looking for growth in their profits, or whether it's the working class people who are looking for growth in their wages - they become suspicious of each other, no longer capable of cooperation. The whole psyche becomes dog-eat-dog, the whole social ambiance of the place changes.

MM: How does the growth model impact on the population economically, in terms of income and lifestyle?

 Hayward: As people become more affluent, everyone wants to get on the economic growth bandwagon, so prices go up more than they need to. As prices go up, people who have not yet got onto the economic bandwagon find themselves moving backward economically. The people who are the poorest in the economy - we don't have abject poverty but we have relative poverty - find that the ratio of their income to their output decreases, so they become poorer. And that has consequences for the quality of food that they can buy, it has implications for the quality of medical protection they are able to buy, it affects what transportation they are able to buy - it has an impact on their quality of life.

Let's talk about traffic. We're on a small island and we really cannot build much more roadway. But the number of cars continues to grow, because there are more people and that is one thing they can spend their money on. There are many young people who see getting a car as a rite of passage.

But our roads are relatively narrow and, as traffic increases, any small turbulence has a big impact. In the past, people would travel at 20 miles per hour, and if someone wanted to come out of the driveway, they would stop and let them in. If they stop now, there is someone right on the bumper who starts blowing the horn, there's confusion for the person who is driving and wants to stop, there is confusion for the person who wants to get out into traffic, and it increases the stress level.

People drive faster because the snarls in traffic are more difficult, so in order to get from one place to another on time they have to either leave home earlier or drive faster. Driving faster exacerbates the problem and on it goes. Each one of these problems feeds into the other.

We are at the leading edge of development. Bermuda is held up as a model to the world, at an income of $27,000 dollars per year per capita. That's extraordinary. Outside of the oil producing countries, it's one of the highest [per capita incomes] in the world. If environmental and social problems are the end result of our economic model, we must stop and ask, is it a viable model for the "developing" countries?

MM: What specific environmental problems is Bermuda facing?

 Hayward: Bermuda is 75 percent developed; that is, 75 percent of its land cannot be considered available for development, as it already has a use allocated to it. This is an enormous quantity of land being used. The land bank is diminishing.

 We produce more waste per capita than any country in the world, and we consume more energy per capita than any country in the world. If you take the gases that are created by incineration, electricity production or refrigeration, in all of these cases, Bermuda is at the top of the list per capita. Bermuda is the greatest per capita contributor to the global warming phenomenon.

 But in Bermuda, if the global warming effect does occur, we're going to lose a sizable chunk of our real estate. The first thing that's going to go is our beaches. If the ocean levels rise one or two meters, we can kiss most of our beaches goodbye. We are already spending tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in trying to fix one beach that has begun to erode unnaturally. We had some severe hurricanes, which may be part of the global warming phenomenon. In all the hurricanes we've had in the past, this degree of erosion has never occurred. So it is a new phenomenon, and it's not part of any [natural] cycle, not as far as the records we've kept in Bermuda can tell. So we're looking at something happening in the natural elements that is impacting on Bermuda's coastal configuration and on the economy in two ways. One, the amount of money that will have to be [siphoned] off for repairs, and two, the reduced revenues we will get if we don't have the kind of beaches we used to have.

MM: What sort of alternative direction should be taken to alleviate the problems you're describing?

 Hayward: Of course, whenever someone says a redistribution of the existing pie, then we've always heard, "Oh, you're talking about communism or socialism." And they hold up the failure of the Soviet Union as the ultimate proof that that economic model cannot work. But there are many possibilities between the current economic model and what was called communism or socialism in Eastern Europe. I'm not an economist. But it is clear to me that every place cannot live as Bermuda does, importing all of its food.

We need to begin to appreciate that the purpose of money is not to be a commodity but to be a tool used for the exchange of services and goods. We need to exercise the extremes of human will to get off of this concept that the only way to fulfillment is through the accumulation of vast amounts of riches.

Here again, Bermuda is a good example. You would think that, in a country that has an average annual income of $27,000 per person, the people would be ecstatic. Because this is what is held up for economic development, as how to solve the problems of the world. Well, judging from our experience, it's just not so. The people in Bermuda are less happy then they were, and this assertion is not just based on personal observation; scientifically designed surveys indicate that the level of satisfaction, the perceived quality of life in Bermuda, is lower than it was four, six, eight, ten years ago. This is a good example that wealth by itself does not bring satisfaction.

As individuals, as families, as organizations, as communities, we have to go back to the drawing board to redefine what it is that we want out of life.