806. J. M. Keynes to Harrod , 11 August 1938 [a]

[Replies to 799 , answered by 810 and 828 ]

Tilton, Firle, Lewes. #

11 August 1938

Dear Roy,

Your article on dynamics looks most exciting. [1] But I have not yet fully digested it, and will write to you about it later on. [2]

As regards the date of printing it, however, I feel very doubtful whether I can possibly get it into the December issue. If I do, it will mean that you will have occupied in the second half of this year a quarter of the whole amount of the space available for articles from all quarters. I am moreover already full up for December, and it would mean putting off someone else who is ahead of you, which might be hardly fair in the circumstances. It is always possible that some of my commitments for December may not mature, and I would then do my best to get it in. I sympathise with your desire to have it out as soon as possible. But I ought not to promise anything earlier than March.

If Tinbergen is engaged in a large number of separate investigations aimed at checking and verifying the theory so as to discover the order of magnitude of various factors, I am entirely in favour of him. But I got the impression that, if this is his object, he is giving himself a great deal of unnecessary trouble in the form of the method adopted. His method seems to be to devise a formula based on one or a very small number of instances capable of being applied to subsequent cases. He could arrive at his results with immensely less labour if he were simply examining statistically particular cases, regarding them as particular cases, and no more. However, I may be wrong. I have not studied his work as carefully as you have.

I have finished my paper for the British Ass[ociation]. But I do not much expect to go and read it, and have asked Gerald Shove to be ready to do so on my behalf. [3] I am making very good progress, particularly in the last month, but Lydia regards that as a reason for not interrupting it by a visit to Cambridge rather than otherwise.

Yours ever,

J M Keynes

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

  1. 1. Harrod, "An Essay in Dynamic Theory" ( 1939:7 ).

    2. See letter 811 .

    3. Keynes, "The Policy of Government Storage of Foodstuffs and Raw Materials", Economic Journal, September 1938 (in Collected Writings, vol. XXI, pp. 456-70). The paper was indeed read by G. Shove (see letter 812 ).

    1. a. TLS, two pages on two leaves, in HP II-83. CcI in JMK EJ/1/5/272-73. Printed in Keynes, Collected Writings, vol. XIV, p. 302. Reproduced by kind permission of the Provost and Scholars, King's College, Cambridge.


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