The Double Entry Book Keeping (Deb) System and the Emergence of Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism (Published)
The purpose of this paper is to cast a new light on the post-Sombartian debate on development of double entry. Sombart (1916) thought that the invention of double-entry bookkeeping was essential to the birth of capitalism. It is known that Max Weber developed the same theme, but to a lesser extent. Epochs after, accounting scholars have debated the idea quite extensively during the 20th century. All these previous works have in common the fact that address the historical question by comparing accounting practices to business practices, some of which are interpreted as capitalist. In this paper, the aim is not to understand the birth of capitalism, but to contribute to understanding of the birth of the concept of capitalism itself from accounting thoughts perceptive. The concept of capitalism came about in the 19th century. At that time, capitalism and a certain kind of double-entry bookkeeping practice that was able to highlight the circuit of capital were inextricably linked. It might be suggested that this historical situation greatly helped the scholars of the period to conceptualize what they called capitalism, and it is easy to show that the notion of capitalism itself is rooted in accounting thoughts. Therefore, the work will present the account of how the concept of capitalism was innovated as example of the influence of accounting thoughts on economic and sociological development. In view therefore, of the eminent position occupied by the concept of capitalism in both past and present intellectual and political debates and current analyses of economic modernity, the fascinating role played by accounting craft in the birth of this concept certainly merits attention.