Connecting materialism to accounting in the history of ideas
by Ratnam Alagiah
International Journal of Critical Accounting (IJCA), Vol. 6, No. 5/6, 2014

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.

Online publication date: Wed, 15-Apr-2015

The full text of this article is only available to individual subscribers or to users at subscribing institutions.

Existing subscribers:
Go to Inderscience Online Journals to access the Full Text of this article.

Pay per view:
If you are not a subscriber and you just want to read the full contents of this article, buy online access here.

Complimentary Subscribers, Editors or Members of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Critical Accounting (IJCA):
Login with your Inderscience username and password:

    Username:        Password:         

Forgotten your password?

Want to subscribe?
A subscription gives you complete access to all articles in the current issue, as well as to all articles in the previous three years (where applicable). See our Orders page to subscribe.

If you still need assistance, please email