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Calculating profit : A historical perspective on the development of capitalism

Toms, S. (2010) Calculating profit : A historical perspective on the development of capitalism. Accounting Organizations and Society. pp. 205-221. ISSN 0361-3682

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Abstract

The paper introduces the notion of different methods of calculating and analysing profitability as signatures of capitalism at different stages of development. Its point of departure is Bryer's thesis of the capitalist mentality, which is subject to theoretical and empirical critique and developed in new directions. Interactions between the development of the productive forces and the socialisation of capital ownership jointly impact on these signatures, such that profit calculations are historically contingent. Aspects of feudalism, particularly restrictions on usury impacted upon accounting calculation, retarding their development. In the industrial revolution calculations reflected the scale and scope of specialised investment in plant, whilst the progressive socialisation of capital prompted a separate set of calculative practices. It was only in the 20th century, with the unification of large scale industry and finance capital that the modern notion of profitability as return on capital employed finally developed. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2010 PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD. This is an author produced version of a paper published in 'Accounting Organizations and Society'. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self archiving policy.
Keywords: BRITISH INDUSTRIAL-REVOLUTION, ACCOUNTABILITY, CONSTRUCTION, TRANSITION, COMPANY, ENGLAND, SYSTEMS, IRON
Academic Units: The University of York > The York Management School
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 18 May 2010 15:00
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2014 01:00
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aos.2009.06.002
Status: Published
Refereed: Yes
Related URLs:
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/10829

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