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An Argument on Behalf of Pakaluk and Cheffers' Contention


  • Williams Paul F.

    (North Carolina State University)


In Professor Baker’s review of the book by Pakaluk and Cheffers (2011) he took exception to their contention, implied in the book’s title, that accounting ethics contributed to the current financial crisis. Baker’s claim is that there is no evidence to support that contention. There have been a number of apologias for the accounting profession with respect to any culpability it might have in bringing the world to the state of financial crisis in which it currently finds itself. The financial crisis itself is evidence for accounting’s culpability in the crisis because the profession failed to prevent it. Since the inception of the profession in the United States, at least, the rationale for a profession of accounting has been that sufficient, reliable information would allow financial markets to self-police and lead to some kind of efficient allocation of capital, i.e., accounting functions to lubricate the capital markets and remove the frictions that result from “information asymmetries” and other such bothersome shortcomings inherent in markets. There is ample evidence that the profession has failed in that aspect of its self-proclaimed responsibility and, thus, is indeed partly responsible for the financial crisis. And, I intend to argue, that failure is at least partly a moral failure for which the profession, qua a profession, is responsible.

Suggested Citation

  • Williams Paul F., 2012. "An Argument on Behalf of Pakaluk and Cheffers' Contention," Accounting, Economics, and Law: A Convivium, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-4, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:aelcon:v:2:y:2012:i:1:n:3

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ravenscroft, Sue & Williams, Paul F., 2009. "Making imaginary worlds real: The case of expensing employee stock options," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 34(6-7), pages 770-786, August.
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