IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Accounting and international relations: Britain, Spain and the Asiento treaty

Listed author(s):
  • Carmona, Salvador
  • Donoso, Rafael
  • Walker, Stephen P.
Registered author(s):

    The boundaries between accounting and law are contingent on time-space intersections. Here, these margins are explored in the realm of international relations by focusing on the Asiento, an 18th century treaty granting Britain the monopoly to trade slaves with the Spanish American colonies. Although a relatively minor concern of treaty-makers, noncompliance with provisions of the Asiento by the South Sea Company placed accounting centre stage in conflicts between Britain and Spain. In combination with geo-strategic and domestic political circumstances, reporting failures exacerbated the commercial dispute between the two nations which culminated in war in 1739. The accounting provisions of the Asiento are examined by drawing on managerialist and realist theories of treaty compliance. It is shown that British noncompliance with accounting obligations under the treaty was driven by realist self-interest and the maximisation of material gain. Given that such motivations dominated behaviour attempts to manage noncompliance through the routine processes and structures of international politics proved unsuccessful. Managerial devices such as diplomatic exchanges over treaty ambiguity and securing greater informational transparency merely provided further opportunities for the pursuit of self-interest. It is suggested that divergent perceptions of the role of accounting in international relations stem from the unique political, legal, social and cultural configurations of nation states. The study highlights the limitations of accounting as an instrument of treaty verification. Its effectiveness in that capacity is diminished where there is no shared understanding of the significance, purpose, content and interpretation of accounting information.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0361-3682(09)00078-6
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Accounting, Organizations and Society.

    Volume (Year): 35 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 2 (February)
    Pages: 252-273

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:35:y:2010:i:2:p:252-273
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/aos

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as
    in new window


    1. Carmona, S. & Donoso, R., 2004. "Cost accounting in early regulated markets: The case of the Royal Soap Factory of Seville (1525-1692)," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 129-157.
    2. Downs, George W. & Rocke, David M. & Barsoom, Peter N., 1996. "Is the good news about compliance good news about cooperation?," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(03), pages 379-406, June.
    3. Walker, Stephen P. & Shackleton, Ken, 1995. "Corporatism and structural change in the British accountancy profession, 1930-1957," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 467-503, August.
    4. Keohane, Robert O., 1982. "The demand for international regimes," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(02), pages 325-355, March.
    5. Martens, S. C. & McEnroe, J. E., 1998. "Interprofessional conflict, accommodation, and the flow of capital: The ASB vs The securities industry and its lawyerS," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 361-376, May.
    6. Burchell, Stuart & Clubb, Colin & Hopwood, Anthony & Hughes, John & Nahapiet, Janine, 1980. "The roles of accounting in organizations and society," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 5-27, January.
    7. Gallhofer, Sonja & Haslam, James, 1991. "The aura of accounting in the context of a crisis: Germany and the first world war," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 16(5-6), pages 487-520.
    8. Hopwood, Anthony G., 1983. "On trying to study accounting in the contexts in which it operates," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 8(2-3), pages 287-305, May.
    9. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "Law and Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1113-1155, December.
    10. Clapham,John, 1949. "A Concise Economic History of Britain," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521092166, Diciembre.
    11. Napier, Christopher J., 1998. "Intersections of law and accountancy: Unlimited auditor liability in the United Kingdom," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 105-128, January.
    12. Luis Fernandez-Revuelta & Donato Gomez & Keith Robson, 2002. "Fuerzas Motrices del Valle de Lecrin, 1936-9: accounting reports and ideological struggles in time of civil war," Accounting History Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 347-368.
    13. Concha Alvarez-Dardet Espejo & Juan Banos Sanchez-Matamoros & Francisco Carrasco Fenech, 2002. "Accounting and control in the founding of the New Settlements of Sierra Morena and Andalucia, 1767-72," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 419-439.
    14. Morrow, James D., 1994. "Modeling the forms of international cooperation: distribution versus information," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(03), pages 387-423, June.
    15. Chayes, Abram & Chayes, Antonia Handler, 1993. "On compliance," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(02), pages 175-205, March.
    16. Anthony Hopwood, 1992. "Accounting calculation and the shifting sphere of the economic," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 125-143.
    17. Peter Miller, 1998. "The margins of accounting," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(4), pages 605-621.
    18. Miller, Peter & Napier, Christopher, 1993. "Genealogies of calculation," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 18(7-8), pages 631-647.
    19. Arjo Klamer & Donald McCloskey, 1992. "Accounting as the master metaphor of economics," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 145-160.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:35:y:2010:i:2:p:252-273. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.