18 JANUARY 1975, Page 4


Sir: Had Gertrude Stein observed that a 'Contract is a contract is a contract' instead of a 'Rose is a Rose is a Rose', she'd have uttered a profundity that G. M. Lewis reviewing Dr Mann's book (January 4) might well ponder before considering the pros. and cons. of replacing the principle of nominalism twioitnsh that of revalued monetary oblige

The ludicrous outcome of observing strict justice, fairness and impartiality when reviewing money obligations is the System with which Brazil is now experimenting; the net result is rigid monetary control involving incalculable labour to give the illusion of no controls and wild inflation; for it would hardly be fair to revalue mortgages and not revalue the National Debt, or for that matter to revalue debts without revaluing incomes and prices.

, If contracts are to be considered legally sacred there is no reason why, with a little flexibility of approach, creditors could not protect themselves

from inflation. A building society, for example, could draw up a contract with a mortgagee, not for so many pounds sterling, but for the market value of so many barrels of oil per month — or pounds of coffee, or bottles of Lucozade, or. anything else which suited the parties to the contract. Transactions might become a little involved, but it would be a lot of fun to buy on H.P. or to take out a mortgage with the option of speculating in oil, coffee, or what have you, whilr incurring a debt.

0. Matthews 71 Cranbourne Road, Northwood Hills, Middlesex