From the Trade Cycle to the ‘Essay’, 1935–39

  • Warren Young


In March 1945 Harrod and Robertson, as other economists of the time, were preoccupied with the questions of the post-war economic situation and reconstruction. Harrod, for his part, was especially concerned with the re-establishment of economic advance and growth. Thus, it is not surprising that he discussed the theoretical problems involved in an exchange of letters with Robertson. In a letter to Harrod dated 15 March 1945, Robertson said:

I agree that your sense of the word dynamic is the most natural one to start with (though I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the Hicksian stuff ‘isn’t dynamics at all’). I believe Marshall’s system to be dynamic in your sense (see Principles, V.5. para. 3); also Cassel’s Theory of Social Economy (1st English translation, vol. I, para. 6, p. 149 etc.). But how far, once one departs from the simplest assumption of steady progress, there is a hope of discovering the laws of such a system, I do not know. The multiplier seems to me wobbly enough as a short answer. But the principle of acceleration is worse. I am not optimistic about the claims of Economics to be a real science.1


Trade Cycle Social Economy Natural Rate Full Employment Growth Equation 
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© Warren Young 1989

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  • Warren Young

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