Full text: Brief von Tibor Scitovsky an Josef Steindl

The London School of Economics and Political Science 
(University of London) 
Houghton Street, 
London, WC2A 2AE 
Telephone: 01-405 7686 
21 December 1977 
Dear Josef, 
I am glad my p$one call cheered you up. That, in any case, is a more 
important function of the telephone than the exchange of information. 
I am very sorry, however, that you should have been so disappointed by 
Michael Harrington's book, because in that case you will be even more 
disappointed by the Bresson book. I thought we agreed in our disappointment 
by the highly polished and technical writings of most of the establishment 
economists; but the alternative to those, unfortunately, is not equally 
well written and thought out but original and imaginative writings but 
something much more humble and meagre. Namely, a good idea or two buried 
in a morass of irrelevance or downright confusion, from the midst of which 
those few good things have to be dug up like truffles. 
Since I phoned you, I have read further in Bresson and liked it less 
and less; but once I promised you the book, I sent it anyhow, with no 
obligation on your part, of course, even to look at it. To me it seemed 
to contain a few good building blocks out of which an able economist could 
write something worth while, though Bresson himself failed to develop them 
and is guilty of an awful lot of sloppiness and even downright confusion. 
As to the Michael Harrin^on book, those bound proofs are my only copy 
and the title page seem to have got lost somewhere on the way. Lafct August 
we had to go back to Stanford to receive our house back from our tenants 
and prepare it for the next tenant; it was during th a t fortnight that I 
sent you the book. I have no judgement on how good or bad the first part 
is; and I agree that the 2nd part is, indeed, on the gossipy side. But 
he presents the thesis that the capitalist system must provide high profits 
to work well; and that as long as you have that system and vait reasonably 
high employment and output, you have no choice but to provide those high 
profits. Britain's troubles seem, to quite an extent, due to rexluctance 
to provide those necessary high profits ; Harrington's discussion of what 
happened in the U.S. is a kind of symmetrical counterpart. 
I will send you a final copy of my paper as soon as the girls in 
the office get around to duplicating it. Surprisingly, or perhaps shockingly, 
that my take quite a lot of time yet. 
^ith all the best, 
Yours ever, 
The London School of Economics and Political Science is incorporated in England as a company limited 
by guarantee under the Companies Acts (Reg. No. 70527) Registered Office as above

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