372. D. H. Robertson to Harrod , 4 October 1934 [a]

[Follows on from 370 , replies to two letters not found, continues at 373 ]

Trinity [College, Cambridge]

4 October 1934

My dear Roy,

Thank you for your 2 letters. Alas! I found the kernel of No 1 unintelligible,--so now await the riposte with what calmness I can muster! [1] I expect to be slaughtered, for you have a much clearer and firmer head than mine: yet I feel sure that you are missing [2] something of fundamental importance which has been revealed to me, and I think to Meade, Hicks and Durbin as well as to the stricter Hayekians. [3] And it does surprise me that you should be surprised at my interposing my body: for I have never felt that on this part of the story there has been much difference except of language between my analysis and H[ayek]'s.

I don't really share your horror of public debate, though I think that in certain hands that shall be nameless it has tended to become quite unnecessarily rude. [4] So I suggest that when I have seen your draft we should consider whether there are any phrases in either product which might be toned down as an example to our elders and brothers! [5]



  1. 1. Robertson had sent to Harrod, via the Editor of Economica, the proofs of his "Mr. Harrod and the Expansion of Credit" (1934), as announced on 27 September (letter 370 , [jump to page] ); the riposte is Harrod, "Rejoinder to Mr. Robertson" ( 1934:11 ).

    2. Harrod, "The Expansion of Credit in an Advancing Community" ( 1934:8 ).

    3. References to Meade and Hicks are specified by Robertson himself in "Mr. Harrod and the Expansion of Credit" (1934), p. 474, while considering how to preserve an equilibrium of advance when "real income is increasing as a result of capital growing more rapidly than population": J. E. Meade, The Rate of Interest in a Progressive State (1933), p. 11; J. R. Hicks, The Theory of Wages (1932), pp. 134-35. In his article, Robertson also refers to Hawtrey and Pigou in this connection. This theme is recurrent in Durbin's writings: see for instance Socialist Credit Policy, London: Gollancz and The New Fabian Research Bureau, 1933, pp. 28-29; "A Reply to Mr. Hobson", Economica XIII, November 1933, p. 421; "Money and Prices", in G. D. H. Cole (ed.), What Everybody Wants to Know about Money, London: Gollancz, 1933, in particular pp. 272-78; Purchasing Power and Trade Depression: A Critique of Under-Consumption Theories, London: Cape, 1933, chapter VI.

    4. Robertson is probably referring to Keynes's and Sraffa's comments on Hayek's Prices and Production (1931), and the debate that ensued: see J. M. Keynes, "The Pure Theory of Money. A Reply to Dr. Hayek", Economica XI, November 1931 (reprinted in The Collected Writings of J. M. Keynes, vol. XIII, London: Macmillan 1973, pp. 243-56); P. Sraffa, "Dr. Hayek on Money and Capital", Economic Journal XLII, March 1932, pp. 42-53 and "Money and Capital: A Rejoinder", Economic Journal XLII, June 1932, pp. 249-51.

    5. Harrod later suggested to Haberler to follow the same procedure: see letter 384 , [jump to page] .

    1. a. ALI, two pages on a halved sheet, in HP IV-990-1069d/21.

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