625. D. H. Robertson to Harrod , 10 February 1937 [a]

 

 

[Replies to a letter not found]

Trinity [College, Cambridge]

10 February 1937

My dear Roy

(1) to be practical. I am putting you in the Blue Boar, Trinity Street,--which is more comfortable than College, & practically opposite to Great Gate. It will be best if you go there direct, & I will call for you about 7.0 & carry you off to dine at the Theatre Restaurant. Yes, dinner jacket.

On Sunday Piero & Mrs. Hollond [1] lunch with us,--we take them with Sir Maurice Amos and my friend Charles Siepman of the BBC whom you ought to know if you dont--& dine in Hall. That doesn't leave much vacant time, but Kahn wants to see you,--he will be at the Theatre & we can arrange something then.

(2) I will think over the trapped money again before you come. I suppose it is a matter of words again, but it seems to me to be hoarding [2] --whatever their motives, [b] firms prefer in the new situation to hold real value in the form of money rather than in the form of goods in process. I can't see that its particularly "institutional",--a self-financing small producer with no liabilities to the public & no auditor round the corner will be doing the same thing, won't he?

(3) I'm sorry though not surprised that you feel a little sad with the temperature of my review. [3] --I believe one ought only to review books which are a little bit off the line of one's main studies,--then, if they are at all good, enthusiasm comes easily (as it did to me, for instance, in reviewing Sayers in the Journal [4] ). In the other case the doubts and differences and impulses to argue almost inevitably turned the laudatory epithets into the shade. But I wish I had put in a sentence expressing more explicit welcome of your way of looking at the whole problem--"What will preserve a moving equilibrium?"--as being valuable in itself whether or not the pessimism of your own solution is justified. It's probably because I've always--or for long--been so much under the influence of Cassel's "Th. of Soc. Ec." [5] in this respect that I rather took this approach for granted: but I quite agree that it isn't prominent enough in even the best English work (A.C.P[igou]. as well as JMK) and deserved more explicit welcome in your own. Well, well,--please try to forgive me,--your letter is very generous.

Yours

DHR.

  1. 1. Piero Sraffa and Marjorie Tappan Hollond (for a biographical notice of the latter see note 1 to letter 142 R).

    2. Robertson refers to Harrod's explanation of the changes in the velocity of fluctuation of money in the course of the trade cycle: see Harrod, The Trade Cycle ( 1936:8 ), pp. 125-45. In his "The Trade Cycle, by R.F. Harrod" (1937), Robertson summarized this mechanism as "a process of hoarding". Later, Harrod pointed out to Robertson that this was his greatest grievance with regard to the review: see letter 651 , [jump to page] .

    3. Robertson, "The Trade Cycle, by R.F. Harrod". See letter 610 .

    4. D. H. Robertson, "Bank of England Operations, 1890-1914 by R. S. Sayers", Economic Journal XLIV, December 1936, pp. 695-97.

    5. G. Cassel, The Theory of Social Economy, London: Fisher Unwin, 1923 (1st German edition: Leipzig, 1918; this is the translation of the 2nd edition published in 1921).

    1. a. ALI, three pages on two leaves, with envelope addressed to Christ Church, in KHLM 215.

      b. A comma has been added here to facilitate the reading.


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