461. Harrod to J. M. Keynes , 3 August 1935 [a]

[Follows on from 460 , continues at 462 ]

51, Campden Hill Square, W. 8. #

3 August 1935

Dear Maynard,

I have now read about rds of what I have. I hope not only to finish but to re-read. My main feeling is this--that I think your own theory is a construction of durability & elegance. I am entirely with you & feel the matter is of great importance. I am not nearly so convinced by the critical parts generally. I am sure that your best point is where you say that the classical theory assumes full employment or a given level of income or something of that sort. [1] I am inclined to think that the keystone of their edifice is the quantity theory of money in its crude form, which fixes the general price level, and allows money wage reductions to be real wage reductions, and prevents saving from weakening the general price level. What I feel on the other hand about some of your guerrilla skirmishing is that you havent always explored the precise implications of the theories as closely as their authors, you see clearly their defect from your point of view, but are too ready to attack their self-consistency. In fine, my view, for what it is worth, is that in your final revision you would do well to reduce rather than to amplify the destructive parts, when in doubt.

My other general impression is, quite between ourselves, that the new book will be understood by about as many people as understood the Treatise. [2] That is perhaps inevitable. It means that still another work, a Manual of Elements, will be wanted. I am afraid my notes have been very scrappy so far. I take my mother and the proofs off to Cornwall to-morrow and hope to brood upon them there.

Yours

Roy

  1. 1. Harrod refers to Keynes, General Theory (1936), chapter 2 (other passages to the same effect can be found, for instance, on pp. 191 and 274-75).

    2. On the difficulties in understanding the central propositions of Keynes's Treatise on Money (Collected Writings, vols V and VI) see letter 391 , [jump to page] , and for Harrod's opinion letter 394 , [jump to page] .

    1. a. ALS, two pages on one leaf, in JMK GTE/1/298-99. Printed in Keynes, Collected Writings, vol. XIII, p. 534.


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