564. D. H. Robertson to Harrod , 21 May 1936 [a]

[Replies to 563 , answered by 565 ]

Trinity [College, Cambridge]

21 May 1936

My dear Roy,

I believe the first version of passage 1 is really better, [1] --for "propensity" doesn't occur in my vocabulary: and though, as I have said, the whole thing doesn't seem to me to be a "view" in the usual sense at all but an apparatus of thought, I suppose you can fairly urge that the use of the apparatus implies the view that what people do on day 2 is "related to" what they get on day 1. But the way in which it is related to it is different on different occasions, and I do think that the sentence marked with a cross [b] in passage 2 [2] states that I say it is always related to it in a particular way, and that the footnote is consequently not successfully-qualifying, but just muddling!--I think therefore it is passage 2 rather than 1 that cries out for alteration.

I do appreciate your scrupulousness, and wish I needn't give you so much trouble. You see I don't really know what story you are telling in passage 2,--it is evidently a different story (doubtless a more likely one) than [c] that in my article, in which "the public" did the initial hoarding which caused the depression, & it was "the entrepreneurs" whose incomes were reduced. [3]

For the same reason--that I don't know how the story begins--I can't grasp your suggestion about firms' capital accounts, nor see its relevance to the Hawtrey impasse. [4] I should dearly like to accept your offer to let me see the whole thing at an early date, but I should only hold you up. I seem to manage my intellectual life very badly nowadays, getting very little time for consecutive thought & misusing that. And I do want, before the Tripos is upon me and then 2 conferences at Geneva, [5] to try to get on to paper, whether or not for publication, my difficulties about JMK's interest theory,--I write about 1/2 a page a week, & then tear it up.

I shall enjoy your new stuff much more if I may read it later, without obligation to comment against time. That is selfish, I know: please forgive me.

To say how far I sympathise with and how far deprecate HDH's [6] present mood would be the task for an hour's conversation!



  1. 1. Letter 561 , [jump to page] . Harrod's proposed revision is to be found in letter 563 , [jump to page] .

    2. Letter 561 , [jump to page] .

    3. Robertson, "Saving and Hoarding" (1933), pp. 401-2.

    4. R. G. Hawtrey, "Mr. Robertson on `Saving and Hoarding.' II", Economic Journal XLIII, December 1933, pp. 701-8, referred to in letters 562 , [jump to page] and 563 , [jump to page] .

    5. Robertson was taking part in the discussions surrounding Haberler's survey and synthesis of trade cycle theories at the League of Nations (Haberler, Prosperity and Depression, 1937). Later, he was asked to "watch and direct" Tinbergen's statistical inquiry on the subject (Tinbergen, Statistical Testing of Business Cycle Theories, 1939): see note 1 to letter 606 .

    6. Hubert Henderson.

    1. a. ALI, two pages on one leaf, in HP IV-990-1069d/36.

      b. Ms: «marked ¥».

      c. Ms: «that».

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