917R. H. F. Scott-Stokes to Harrod, 13 July 1939 [a]

Scott-Stokes agrees with Harrod about business morality: [1] although it is a "low-level" morality, it is effective as far as it goes.

  1. 1. Refers to Harrod's article on "Price and Cost in Entrepreneurs' Policy" ( 1939:10 ), pp. 8-11. Harrod's article, together with Hitch and Hall's contribution in the same issue of the journal, was circulated to the entrepreneurs interviewed by the Oxford Economists' Research Group in July 1939. Harrod also received comments from R. H. Brand (who was interviewed by the OERG on 21 May 1937: see the report in HCN 6.17.1), who strongly agreed with Harrod's remarks on ignorance and uncertainty (letter to Harrod of 18 July 1939, in ABP 635), and from Barnard Ellinger (interviewed by the OERG on 28 January 1938: see the Report in HCN 6.20.1), who disagreed that entrepreneurs talking of fair and just price have in mind considerations of general morality. He claimed instead that they consider fair a price which is profitable to both buyer and seller, high enough to afford a normal dividend to shareholders, not too high to reduce consumption, not so low to reduce wages. Ellinger also suggested to invite the entrepreneurs to cross examine the OERG on their theory (letter to Harrod of 20 July 1939, in ABP 635).

    Brand's letter mentioned above gave rise to an embarrassing situation, which Harrod described as follows to his wife: "I had a trunk-call from Andrews this afternoon. Apparently Brand--a very important banker--wrote some long notes about our business men reports addressed to me and Andrews replied that I had read them with interest. (I havent seen them of course). Brand met Henderson at dinner and was quite furious at this cavalier treatment by me of his attempts to help economists. Andrews was dumb-stuck with remorse over the problem. I have written to Brand to explain the circumstances" (letter of 22 July 1939, in HPBL 247-48). The matter was the subject of two letters to P. W. S. Andrews of 22 July and 1 August 1939 (in ABP 45 and 635, respectively).

    1. a. From Glastonbury, Somerset # , PcS, addressed to 74 High Street, Oxford, in ABP 635.


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