774. R. L. Hall to Harrod , [31 May 1938] [a]

Examination Schools, Oxford #

[31 May 1938] [1]

Dear Roy,

I have just been reading your paper, [2] which I return: I have read it once carefully and once quickly but cannot pretend to have come to a final conclusion on it. However I will give my general reactions and a few particular comments.

1. I found it extremely interesting and stimulating and find myself very much in agreement with what you say: I thought your placing of methodology in the rear, [3] and your defence of comparison of income (p. 23), [4] particularly happy. My main criticism is that it touches on so many points of interest that it is easy to lose oneself and though you have tried to put up sign-posts, I think they might be more and plainer. For instance, unless a reader already knew the idea of a map to which reference is to be made, he might find himself wandering at that point and lose a good deal of the rest of the section. Macgregor [b] always says that one ought not to be too clear but I am not sure that he is right.

Illustrations of above p. 6 line [c] 20 On the one hand etc. It is somewhat difficult to know when you come to the "other hand"--could you not tell us the other at once and then go on to explain the first. [5] p. 17 The para. to be inserted from p. 20 doesn't fit in at all smoothly as it stands.

I hope this is clear. To put it another way; you will need to produce a summary for the reporters, as you could not trust them to do it for themselves in a case like this. I should write the summary now, and then look over the paper with reference to the summary to see whether it would be easy for another person to make the same summary.

As it stands, I should say it will take nearly 2 hours to read--is this perhaps rather too much? I should be sorry to see it reduced and hope that the E.J. will print it at length. But if you have to reduce it in order to deliver it, I think it might be reduced towards a continuous outline first written.

I will now mention a few detailed points: not an exhaustive list but the ones [d] that occurred to me.

p. 5 lines 11 ff. [6] Are not all results of reasoning implicit in the premises? i.e. does not reasoning bring to light inherent relationships? I am not sure about the next sentence either--does it mean that the logic is poor and that a new premise is smuggled in?

p. 7 line 22 [7] I suppose "degree of generality" is the accepted term for what you mean--I am not sure that it might not be better to be more explicit, though it might involve too long a circumlocution. 1

p. 8. line 10 [8] the hypothetical clause is so long (between "how" and "can") that one is lost--could you repeat the "how"? 2

p. 10 line 7 [9] "In the recent phase" is "phase" a good word? It really means a point in time with reference to a cyclical movement. 3

p. 11 line 20 [10] I only hope? 4

p. 28 line 1. [11] These concepts--Which concepts? The unknowns are prices and quantities of goods. The concepts seem to be conditions of equilibrium which are expressed by the equations themselves. I think you mean "These concepts are then applied in order to formulate the functional relationships in a number of equations". 5

p. 30 lines 10-12 I don't like this sentence. 6

p. 37. Does the law of dim. utility suggest this? I am not sure. e.g. couldn't new saving be balanced by old dissaving? 7

p. 41 line 6 Relative clause badly placed in sentence. 8

p. 45 line 11 way is the movement of the ship--weigh is what is done to the anchor. 9

line 13 the first not the others. 10

This is all very hasty and probably ill-judged comment: but I feel myself how much better it is to have people's reactions, upon which I can reflect.

As I have said, the general impression I have is that it is very good and well worth doing.


Robert Hall


(a) No meeting to-morrow. I think we might send something to the Nuffield Committee, however? The draft statement, with any emendations suggested.

(b) Meeting of economics on Tuesday June 7 th at 2 p.m. I must go to the Sub-Faculty meeting: could we make it 3-30 and arrange to stay till dinner if necessary? The others can do this.

  1. 1. The dating is tentative, as Hall only indicated "Tuesday". However, we know from letter 770 that Harrod's presidential address which Hall is discussing was ready by the end of May, while Hall's reference (at the end of the letter) to a meeting to be held on Tuesday June 7 suggest that this was not far in time--probably the Tuesday after the present letter was written.

    2. Refers to a draft of Harrod's presidential address "Scope and Method of Economics", to be read before the meeting of the British Association, which was later published as Harrod ( 1938:15 ).

    3. Harrod, "Scope and Method of Economics" ( 1938:15 ), p. 384 bottom.

    4. Harrod, "Scope and Method of Economics" ( 1938:15 ), p. 396.

    5. Harrod, "Scope and Method of Economics" ( 1938:15 ), p. 386 middle.

    6. Harrod, "Scope and Method of Economics" ( 1938:15 ), p. 385, second full paragraph.

    7. Harrod, "Scope and Method of Economics" ( 1938:15 ), p. 387, first full paragraph.

    8. Harrod, "Scope and Method of Economics" ( 1938:15 ), p. 387, second full paragraph.

    9. Harrod, "Scope and Method of Economics" ( 1938:15 ), p. 388, third full paragraph.

    10. Harrod, "Scope and Method of Economics" ( 1938:15 ), p. 389, end of section.

    11. Harrod, "Scope and Method of Economics" ( 1938:15 ), p. 399, first full paragraph.

    1. a. ALS, seven pages on six leaves (the first written on both sides; numbered, except the first and last), in HP II-78c. At first, Hall wanted to number paragraphs. After the first, however, he only numbered leaves.

      b. Ms: «MacGregor».

      c. Hall's abbreviation is expanded throughout for typographical reasons.

      d. Ms: «but ones».

1. no [Harrod's comment in the margin].

2. no [Harrod's comment in the margin].

3. Ticked in the margin by Harrod.

4. Ticked in the margin by Harrod.

5. Ticked in the margin by Harrod.

6. Ticked in the margin by Harrod.

7. Have written about it. [Harrod's comment in the margin].

8. Ticked in the margin by Harrod.

9. Ticked in the margin by Harrod.

10. Ticked in the margin by Harrod.

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