218R. A. L. Rowse to Harrod, [15 October 1931] [a]

Rowse thanks Harrod for his pamphlet, [1] which he thinks to be most powerful and which he has used against E. F. Wise. For further help, Rowse asks additional information about Wise's position on tariffs and protection, besides his article in the Political Quarterly: he asks whether Harrod could get hold of Wise's subsequent reply to the controversy, [2] and of any of his Hansard speeches or statements elsewhere, and letters in the Nation or New Statesman. [3]

  1. 1. Probably refers to a draft of an untitled pamphlet on tariffs and development policy, here reproduced as essay 7 --see in particular note 1 for more details.

    Rowse later recollected that he distrusted the economists' free trade dogma "by which the economic mechanism automatically rightened itself", while he agreed with Keynes's advice to abandon the gold standard, to introduce a moderate degree of inflation to expand the economy and a 10 per cent. tariff on imports. He eventually put to Harrod in a letter his difficulties about the free trade-free enterprise orthodoxy. Harrod replied "explaining the orthodox view that the mechanism rightened itself: which ever way you spend available resources, it gave rise, indirectly, if not directly, to the same amount of employment" (A. L. Rowse, A Man of the Thirties, London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1979, pp. 149 and 178-79. Neither Rowse's letter nor Harrod's reply could be found). If Rowse's recollection is correct, Harrod's reply could have consisted of the pamphlet.

    2. E. F. Wise, "An Alternative to Tariffs", Political Quarterly II:2, April-June 1931, pp. 186-203, and "A Reply to Professor Robbins", ibid., vol. II:3, July-September 1931, pp. 411-16 (with reference to Robbins's "A Criticism of Mr. Wise's Proposal", in the second issue of the Journal on pp. 204-23). Wise's name is never spelt out, but only initialled "E. W.".

    3. Wise does not seem to have taken part in the lively debate on tariffs in the columns of the New Statesman and Nation following Keynes's "Proposal for a Revenue Tariff" and "Economic Notes on Free Trade" in March and April 1931, nor in other 1931 issues. No printed evidence of a debate between Rowse and Wise could be found.

    1. a. From 12 St. Nicholas Street, Truro, ALI, two pages, with envelope addressed to Christ Church, in HPBL Add. 71190/175-76. Date read from postmark.

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