An early Harvard memorandum on anti-depression policies: an introductory note

Laidler, D. and Sandilands, R.J. (2002) An early Harvard memorandum on anti-depression policies: an introductory note. History of Political Economy, 34 (3). pp. 515-552. ISSN 0018-2702 (

Full text not available in this repository.Request a copy


The memorandum that this note introduces was completed by three young members of the Harvard economics department sometime in January 1932. Two of them, Lauchlin Currie and Harry Dexter White, were soon to play key roles on the American, indeed the worldwide, policy scene. Both of them would go to Washington in 1934 as founding members of Jacob Viner's 'Freshman Brains Trust.' In due course, first at the Federal Reserve Board and later at the Treasury and the White House, Currie would become a highly visible and leading advocate of expansionary fiscal policy, while White, at the Treasury, was to be a coarchitect, with Keynes, of the Bretton Woods system. Both would fall victim to anti-Communist witch-hunts in the late 1940s, in White's case perhaps at the cost of his life, since he died of a heart attack in 1948 three days after a strenuous hearing before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). The third author, Paul Theodore Ellsworth, later a professor of economics at the University of Wisconsin, is perhaps best [End Page 515] remembered nowadays as the author of a leading textbook on international economics (Ellsworth 1937), although it is worth noting that he was also a very early (December 1936) but hitherto unrecognized discoverer of what came to be called the IS-LM model as a means of elucidating issues raised by Keynes's (1936) General Theory.