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Calculating Profit: A Historical Perspective on the Development of Capitalism

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  • Toms, Steven

Abstract

The paper introduces the notion of different methods of calculating and analysing profitability as signatures of capitalism at different stages of development. 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. These interactions take the identification of capitalism beyond simple associations with the presence or absence of double-entry bookkeeping (DEB), the capital account or return on capital calculations. Profit calculations are implicated in the process of transition from feudalism to capitalism by enabling the private enforcement of profit levels in excess of legally regulated interest rates or through fairly remunerated labour. The modern usage of ROCE is linked to the development of the productive forces and the socialisation of capital ownership.

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Paper provided by The York Management School, University of York in its series The York Management School Working Papers with number 41.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wrc:ymswp1:41

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References

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  7. Janette Rutterford, 2004. "From dividend yield to discounted cash flow: a history of UK and US equity valuation techniques," Accounting History Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(2), pages 115-149.
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  9. Trevor Boyns & John Richard Edwards, 1997. "The Construction of Cost Accounting Systems in Britain to 1900: The Case of the Coal, Iron and Steel Industries," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(3), pages 1-29.
  10. Steve Toms & Mike Wright, 2002. "Corporate Governance, Strategy and Structure in British Business History, 1950-2000," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(3), pages 91-124.
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  13. Zambon, Stefano & Zan, Luca, 2000. "Accounting relativism: the unstable relationship between income measurement and theories of the firm," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 25(8), pages 799-822, November.
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  15. Grassby,Richard, 1995. "The Business Community of Seventeenth-Century England," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521434508.
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Cited by:
  1. Edwards, John Richard & Dean, Graeme & Clarke, Frank, 2009. "Merchants' accounts, performance assessment and decision making in mercantilist Britain," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 551-570, July.
  2. Robertson, Jeffrey & Funnell, Warwick, 2012. "The Dutch East-India Company and accounting for social capital at the dawn of modern capitalism 1602–1623," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 342-360.
  3. Aysem Mert, 2012. "Partnerships and the Privatisation of Environmental Governance: On Myths, Forces of Nature and Other Inevitabilities," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 21(4), pages 475-498, November.
  4. Toms, Steven & Shepherd, Alice, 2013. "Creative accounting in the British Industrial Revolution: Cotton manufacturers and the ‘Ten Hours’ Movement," MPRA Paper 51478, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Toms, Steven, 2014. "‘Cold, Calculating Political Economy’: Fixed costs, the Rate of Profit and the Length of the Working Day in the Factory Act Debates, 1832-1847," MPRA Paper 54408, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Yannick Lemarchand & Laure Pineau-Defois & Cheryl Mcwatters, 2011. "Comptes et récits de la maison Chaurand, retour sur les liens entre comptabilité et capitalisme," Post-Print hal-00650546, HAL.

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