Chapter X SIDE-SHOWS OF A DIRECTOR

The process of correcting errors is always longer than that of making them.

Letter to the Editor of The New Republic, March 12, 1928.


1. Writing and Talking in Spare Moments

T HERE was plenty to do in transforming the School of Economics from a small institution into a large one after the coma of World War I. But this plenty of work left time and energy for side-shows. The activity described in the last chapter was hardly a side-show. The School of Economics was part of the federal University of London and its administrative head was expected to play his part in federal affairs.

He was expected also to have time for service to the Government. The most exciting public task that came my way was membership of the Royal Commission on Coal Mines in 1925-26. Happily, this work, though as intense as any that I remember doing in all my life, was as brief as it was severe; as much as it seems necessary to say of this lost endeavour ending in the General Strike is given below. The longest, most pleasant, and most productive of my public side-shows was the Chairmanship of the Unemployment Insurance Statutory Committee, also noticed below; this ran for ten years, from 1934 to 1944, into my time as Master of University College, Oxford.

There were for me innumerable activities connected with my position in the School. In place of writing books myself, I helped to start others on writing books -- notably through the Carnegie Endowment which, under the leadership of James Shotwell, undertook an Economic and Social History of World War I. This was an international undertaking, leading ultimately to 148 volumes in different languages. I became Chairman of the Editorial Board responsible for the British Section. Before we ended, twenty-four volumes stood to our credit, though there should have been more. Another international project arose out of my interest in the history of prices and wages and in bringing Thorold Rogers's pioneer work up to date. With the help of the Rockefeller

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