714. William Beveridge to Harrod , 1 November 1937 [a]

[Replies to 708 ]

The Master's Lodging, University College, Oxford #

1 November 1937

My dear Harrod,

Many thanks for your note, which I should have acknowledged before but I have been particularly busy.

I am very glad that you like the general argument of my address on the Social Sciences. [1] Of course I agree that what Keynes writes arises out of his interpretation of the world as he sees it, and obviously also, to all his other gifts he adds a very penetrating power of understanding the world as he sees it; but I feel that scientific observation implies something rather more systematic than this, particularly on the side of verification [b] .

I did my best moreover, in my address, to make it clear that I was criticising, not Keynes in particular, but his professional critics as much as him, for their neglect of verification.

But I need not pursue these minor points. The main point, I think, is that we [c] have to try to get the resources to make something like a new start in economics, based on the combination of statistics, field work and reasoning; particularly we have to develop the technique of observation appropriate to sciences which cannot dissect or experiment.

I am expecting to meet you at the Institute on Wednesday. If you are free I hope you will come back to tea after the meeting.

Yours sincerely,

W H Beveridge

H.R.F. Harrod, Esq., Christ Church

  1. 1. W. Beveridge, "The Place of the Social Sciences in Human Knowledge", Politica 2, September 1937, pp. 459-79 (an address delivered at the London School of Economics on 24 June 1937).
    1. a. TLS with autograph corrections, one page, in HPBL Add. 71182/3. CC in Beveridge V/19-32. © British Library of Political and Economic Science, Archives Division , London.

      b. Autograph correction; Cc: «observation».

      c. The word "really" was crossed out at this point, but not from the Cc.

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