Confession and Bookkeeping

A fascinating exploration of the connection between profit making and morality, this book illustrates how modern accounting had its roots in the sacrament of confession.

Confession and Bookkeeping

A fascinating exploration of the connection between profit making and morality, this book illustrates how modern accounting had its roots in the sacrament of confession. Double-entry bookkeeping (DEB), modern capitalism’s first and foremost calculative technology, was “invented” during the Middle Ages when profit making was morally stigmatized. James Aho examines the problematic of moneymaking and offers an explanatory understanding of the paradoxical coupling of profit seeking and morality by situating DEB in the religious circumstances from which it emerged, specifically the newly instituted sacrament of penance, that is, confession. Confession impacted the consciences of medieval businessmen both through its sacramental form and through its moral teachings. The form of confession produced widespread habits of moral scrupulosity (leading to compulsive record keeping); the content of confession taught that commerce itself was morally suspect. Scrupulous businessmen were thus driven to justify their affairs to church, commune, and themselves. With the aid of DEB, moneymaking was “Christianized” and Christianity was made more amenable to the pursuit of wealth. Although DEB is typically viewed exclusively as a scientifically neutral account of the flow of money through a firm, it remains as it was originally devised, a rhetorical argument. James Aho is Professor of Sociology at Idaho State University and is the author of many books, including The Things of the World: A Social Phenomenology and The Orifice as Sacrificial Site: Culture, Organization, and the Body.

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Confession and Bookkeeping
Language: en
Pages: 151
Authors: James Aho
Categories: Social Science
Type: BOOK - Published: 2012-02-01 - Publisher: SUNY Press

A fascinating exploration of the connection between profit making and morality, this book illustrates how modern accounting had its roots in the sacrament of confession. Double-entry bookkeeping (DEB), modern capitalism’s first and foremost calculative technology, was “invented” during the Middle Ages when profit making was morally stigmatized. James Aho examines
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Language: en
Pages: 140
Authors: Jakob Bek-Thomsen, Christian Olaf Christiansen, Stefan Gaarsmand Jacobsen, Mikkel Thorup
Categories: Philosophy
Type: BOOK - Published: 2017-03-21 - Publisher: Springer

This book concentrates upon how economic rationalities have been embedded into particular historical practices, cultures, and moral systems. Through multiple case-studies, situated in different historical contexts of the modern West, the book shows that the development of economic rationalities takes place in the meeting with other regimes of thought, values,
The Reckoning
Language: en
Pages: 312
Authors: Jacob Soll
Categories: History
Type: BOOK - Published: 2014-04-29 - Publisher: Hachette UK

Whether building a road or fighting a war, leaders from ancient Mesopotamia to the present have relied on financial accounting to track their state's assets and guide its policies. Basic accounting tools such as auditing and double-entry bookkeeping form the basis of modern capitalism and the nation-state. Yet our appreciation
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Language: en
Pages: 304
Authors: Michele Bigoni, Warwick Funnell
Categories: Business & Economics
Type: BOOK - Published: 2017-10-02 - Publisher: Routledge

The Italian and Iberian Influence in Accounting History provides compelling evidence of how accounting, when conceived of as a technology rather than simply as a tool to increase efficiency, can work as a means to sustain power relations in different sites, such as the Church, the State or the factory.
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Language: en
Pages: 174
Authors: Vassili Joannidès de Lautour
Categories: Business & Economics
Type: BOOK - Published: 2016-11-04 - Publisher: Springer

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