نقش حسابداری به تکامل فرهنگی آگاهانه: پایان دادن به توسعه پایدار
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|29127||2005||24 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Volume 16, Issue 3, April 2005, Pages 185–208
Influential institutions are acknowledging the need for more change to reverse practices that seriously damage social and ecological systems. The depth and extent of these changes are indicated by the call for a conscious cultural evolution. This paper considers a possible contribution from accounting to comply with such an evolution. A theoretical basis for accounting’s contribution to a conscious cultural evolution is outlined by means of a truth classification scheme developed in this paper as well as the works of Foucault, Giddens, evolutionary biologists and life-world theorists. This theoretical basis is then used to interpret the results of an EU funded research project that was to identify the criteria and specifications for a sustainable development management and accounting tool. The strengths and weaknesses of traditional, social and environmental accounting are evaluated against the needs of sustainable development as identified during the course of this project as well as a proposed balanced accounting. The theoretical basis identified in this paper is further employed to re-evaluate the concept of accounting equity in the context of equitable communities and face-to-face relationships. Finally, the potential resistance to changes of this kind that may exist within contemporary mainstream accounting is considered. The end of sustainable development is considered within the conclusion.
Influential global institutions are beginning to acknowledge the need for more change to stop practices that seriously damage social and ecological systems. The depth and extent of change are indicated by the call for a conscious cultural evolution being made from some quarters. This paper considers a possible contribution from accounting to participate in such a cultural evolution. It is also considered here that such an evolution could bring an end to the concepts and practices of sustainable development in so far as the needs of sustainable development become established, unspecialised habits of day-to-day life. After a short introduction to the idea of a conscious cultural evolution, a possible theoretical approach to a conscious cultural evolution in accounting is outlined and this employs a truth classification scheme developed for this purpose. The works of Foucault, Giddens, evolutionary biologists and life-world theorists are used to substantiate this theoretical approach. This theoretical basis is then used to explain established trends in accounting and to interpret the results of an EU funded research project. This project had an original objective of identifying the criteria and specifications for a sustainable development management and accounting tool. The strengths and weaknesses of traditional, social and environmental accounting are evaluated against the needs of sustainable development as identified during the course of this project as well as a proposed balanced accounting. The theoretical basis identified in this paper is further employed to re-evaluate the concept of accounting equity in the context of equitable communities and face-to-face relationships. Finally, possible resistance to a conscious cultural evolution within accounting is considered.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In concluding this paper the authors seek to avoid the charge that they suffer ‘the phantom pains of social change’, in which they lament, “the ‘loss of community’, the ‘loss of meaning’, the ‘loss of gemeinshaft’, the ‘loss of identity’, the ‘loss of kinship’, and so on. Man lived and belonged in a folk society, with mechanical solidarity, in touch with nature, spontaneously expressing creativity in soft interpersonal relations. Then this world was cut off from man, and he was left with routinization, bureaucracy, atomization, isolation anonymity, impersonal roles, mechanical regulation, and estrangement from nature” (Hernes, 1991, pp. 125–126). We do not long for an ideal world irrevocably gone, nor do we wish to convert Hernes’ punitive sentence of a week in the Middle Ages to a life sentence for either our own or future generations. But neither do we agree with the valorisation of the Western world provided by Shepsle (1991) who argues that Western man has broken loose from the shackles of a world bounded by abject poverty and recurring famine and has realised a quality of life which is made possible only by relative abundance. Also according to Shepsle, the key to this freedom and growth is efficient economic organisation and that it is the development of an efficient economic organisation in Western Europe that accounts for the rise of the West. That the material quality of life is on average higher in the West is not disputed, but the notion must be contested that the West has broken free from the world. Its present wealth is as dependent on efficiently obtaining resources from the very countries in which abject poverty is common, as its future prosperity is dependent on actions taken to alleviate their poverty by the presently inefficient poor. It is the deterioration of ecological systems worldwide that threatens our existence and has prompted calls for more rapid change to our practices and for a conscious cultural evolution. We are realising step-by-step the continuity and interdependence of existence and we are obliged to look increasingly outward to verify our knowledge. This realisation is becoming evident in the practice and theory of such as environmental, social and sustainable development accounting. Increased recognition and valuation of deferential truth is a necessary requirement for this knowledge and there is a case for adding scientific, especially ecological, literacy to the basic requirements of accounting. This paper has outlined a theoretical basis for an outward, deferential view of truth in accounting that has to be used alongside the inward, epistemic view of truth so characteristic of traditional accounting. The depth of change needed to achieve this balanced view is sufficient to warrant the call for a conscious cultural evolution within accounting. The balanced accounting view making use of both views of truth was effectively applied to the analysis of island sustainable development where the interests of islanders were seen to be inadequately represented in traditional, social and environmental accounting. As a second example of an application, it was seen how an outward view to other knowledge and other faces could be used to redefine the concept of equity in accounting. Finally, the reality of resistance to our suggestion for a conscious cultural evolution in accounting was considered. The ostensible and the hidden motives behind accounting were identified and related to our proposal. We take heart from social and environmental accounting that has overcome resistance to establish its present position but at the same time remain fully aware of the deeper implications of our arguments. The motivation for this paper has been to encourage a strong accounting solution to sustainable development. Whilst this is the final goal, the breadth of the paper meant that only occasionally was direct reference made to sustainable development. But this situation is in line with our argument to put an end to sustainable development. To achieve a conscious cultural evolution, we argue that “sustainable development” needs to end. “Sustainable development” is itself a technical term with significant associations with expert knowledge, technology and specialisation. A conscious cultural evolution on the other hand needs a common currency replete with meaning for everyday lives. In lieu of “sustainable development”, there is a need for commonplace, diverse social and ecological values that are thoughtfully integrated in depth with economic equivalents. Accounting and accountants could play a pivotal role in this regard by adopting a balanced accounting view at a core level of accounting. The theoretical foundations of such a change of view have been substantiated by the quoted works of Foucault and Giddens as well as life-world theorists and the Santiago theory. The application of a balanced accounting view to the development of a sustainable accounting tool on islands helped to identify the enriched content that an outward view to deferential truths would bring to accounting for sustainable development. It was with regard to a reconstruction of accounting equity that the outward view to deferential truth would perhaps most help sustainable development. However, we repeat that the overriding consideration that we bring to the sustainable development debate is the need to urgently bring sustainable development to an end. Instead of the specialised terminology and conflicts with vested interests that mar sustainable development, we need a commonplace understanding that integrates the breadth of “sustainable development” into daily working practice. We argue that a conscious cultural evolution within accounting to bring about a balance between an inward view to accounting epistemic truths and an outward view to the deferential truths found in other bodies of knowledge, and other faces, would bring sustainable development to an end. A future research agenda that would work towards the goals of this paper would include (i) further projects that are like, or build on, the sustainable development on islands project outlined in this paper, (ii) studies of ways of impacting accountant’s training and regulatory decision-making, and (iii) research into the creation and implementation of alternative performance measures for corporations. But there is more potential for research than this narrow outline suggests. This paper offers a vision of a different accounting world and the challenge for future research is to operationalise it. Finally, from the perspective of evolutionary biology, the Mesozoic Era ended some 65 million years ago. The contemporary scientific consensus is that that Era was brought to a close by the impact of a giant meteorite that killed off the dinosaurs. Following that event, evolution required about 10 million years to restore previous levels of diversity in what was to be called the Cenozoic Era, the Age of Mammals, our present age. Our age is being brought to a close by nothing other than our own actions. However, “The extinction spasm we are now inflicting can be moderated if we so choose” (Wilson, 1998, p. 328). But if we carry on as we are doing, Wilson points out that we will give rise to a new age and he has called that the “Eremozoic Era”, the Age of Loneliness (ibid.).