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Accounting for the wealth of Denmark: a case study of Smithian growth using the emergence of modern accounting in Danish dairying

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  • Markus Lampe
  • Paul Sharp

Abstract

The idea of “Smithian growth†rests on a “natural†development out of agriculture through capital accumulation, and the division of labour. We confront these concepts with an “historical experiment†and the case of Danish agriculture in the nineteenth century. Specifically, we look at how accounting was used to promote specialization, ultimately in butter production, leading to the massive increases in productivity that Smith predicted. We also observe the emergence of Smithian “philosophers†. This ultimately led to the capital-intensive industrialization of Danish agriculture through butter factories, and general development. We argue that this establishes the historical relevance of Smith’s theories.

Suggested Citation

  • Markus Lampe & Paul Sharp, 2019. "Accounting for the wealth of Denmark: a case study of Smithian growth using the emergence of modern accounting in Danish dairying," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(4), pages 659-697, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:eujhet:v:26:y:2019:i:4:p:659-697
    DOI: 10.1080/09672567.2019.1634751
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