Title: Connecting materialism to accounting in the history of ideas

Authors: Ratnam Alagiah

Addresses: Deceased; Formely of: School of Commerce, University of South Australia, GPO Box 2471, Adelaide, South Australia 5001, Australia

Abstract: Current popular culture is connected to the birth of a secular and materialistic interpretation of reality, partly brought about by accounting and the principle of profit maximisation. Materialism, which is the tendency to be more concerned with material values, through rational experimentation and discourse - so people were given to believe - would solve all of the fundamental issues related to human governance and development. With education and legislative action, people's happiness would be determined, according to materialism, by better health, better food, better education and better living conditions. First, this paper applies Foucault's genealogy, to explain that materialism is a product of a series of historical events that are closely related to the need to keep account and the practice of accounting. Second, this paper seeks to show that, accounting and 'scientific materialism' has been instrumental in paving the course to their and our common failure. Third, the paper proposes a shift away from our impulse for a mere material existence leading to what has now become 'popular culture', to a new point of enhancing an ever advancing civilisation.

Keywords: popular culture; counting; accounting; materialism; ever advancing civilisation; history of ideas; Foucault's genealogy.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCA.2014.068369

International Journal of Critical Accounting, 2014 Vol.6 No.5/6, pp.490 - 500

Published online: 15 Apr 2015 *

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