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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|7812||2012||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Available online 17 December 2012
In this paper we adopt a ‘business model’ conceptual framework grounded in accounting to describe the processes and mechanisms of national economic development and transformation. We locate national business models within a broad econo-sphere where they evolve and adapt to information arising out of stakeholder/institutional interactions. These interactions congeal into reported financial numbers that are presented as current income flows (income, expenditure), balance sheet accumulations and changes in net worth (assets and liabilities outstanding). We employ financial data from national accounts to specifically describe how the US and UK national business models have become financialized as ongoing capitalizations run ahead of earnings capacity. This process of interminable re-capitalization is conditioned by variable institutional and sub-institutional sector characteristics. However, in financialized national business models the system of accounting takes on added analytical significance because it ‘transmits rather than contains’ and ‘amplifies rather than dampens’ adverse financial disturbance as capitalizations are recalibrated up or down in secondary markets.
In both the US and the UK the period after 2008 marked a significant economic break when capital markets became increasingly volatile, amplifying a process of corporate restructuring and forcing institutional interventions to maintain financial stability. The focus of policy in the US is now with macro-prudential management and in the UK with rebalancing the economy with a specific focus on stimulating manufacturing because this creates jobs and may close the underlying balance of trade constraint. Erturk et al. (2012) argue against mainstream attention focused on bottom line GDP outcomes and alternatively draw our attention to the constituent moving parts such as the different elements of final demand. Deconstructing the bottom line GDP figures reveals underlying mechanisms that are employed to critically evaluate the effectiveness of industrial policy centered on rebalancing the economy. In this article our objective is to likewise deconstruct the US and UK national accounts but to locate our analysis within a business models framework grounded in accounting. The term ‘business model’ (BM) is generally used to describe the possibilities of transforming corporate activities and business functions (Osterwalder et al., 2005 and Magretta, 2002). This concept can be adapted to describe the macro-economic processes and mechanisms driving national financial development and transformation. Thus, this paper argues for the examination of a national business model within an augmented accounting framework which captures and deconstructs both financial flows (income, expenditure, and flow of funds) and financial stock (balance sheet capitalization and net worth). We argue that such an accounting framework can be employed to describe the adaptation and evolution of national business models which are the product of stakeholder/institutional/regulatory interactions within the econo-sphere. Our objective is to locate national business models within accounting where financial flows and accumulated capitalization matter and to apply such a framework to construct a critical examination of the development of the US and UK national business model(s) over recent decades. Our general argument is that the US and UK national business model can be deconstructed into broad institutional elements: corporate (financial, non-financial), government and households. These institutional elements are constituted by the sum of their focal parts that is, focal firms and individual households operating with variable patterns of income, expenditure, cash surplus, allocation of funds and capitalization. Our analysis of the UK and US national business model(s) reveals a general financial pattern namely: the accumulation of balance sheet capitalization (debt and equity) ahead of surplus generating capacity (Gross Operating Surplus). This financially leveraged outcome is explained by a range of factors that permit focal firms and households, within their respective national business models, to generate wealth recapitalizations ahead of surplus capacity. These factors include: low interest rates, financial product innovation (e.g. securitization, collateralized debt obligations and other derivatives), extension of financial intermediation, real estate and private equity firms, as well as accounting and regulatory adjustments that facilitate and extend the recognition of mark to market revaluations, goodwill, and holding gains in comprehensive income. This explanation contrasts with the notion that current capitalizations are the discounted present value of a stream of expected future cash surpluses extracted from productive corporate activities. In a financialized national business model, capitalizations are also the product of: financial innovation, brisk asset trading, the extraction of speculative holding gains and goodwill accumulations that, in turn, provide the collateral for further recapitalizations. Thus the augmentation of balance sheet capitalization, within national business models, is a function of both extracting cash from selling product and services for final consumption and an interminable process of financial manipulations to lever asset and liability values to generate holding gains and goodwill for wealth accumulation. In this paper we argue that this process of financialization can best be understood within an augmented accounting framework that deconstructs national business models into their institutional and focal entity constituents. This paper is grounded in accounting and we employ financial numbers to make visible: cost structure, cash generative capacity, and balance sheet capitalization (asset and liabilities) upon which we construct critically engaged narratives about economic transformation (Froud et al., 2006 and Haslam et al., 2012). There is a long-standing tradition within economics that is concerned with how national accounts can capture the relation between income, expenditure and capital accumulations in the balance sheet. Ruggles and Ruggles (1973) observed that the national accounts do not capture the financial relationship between capital gains and business/personal income even though this can be a major source of unearned income. Capital gains provide a substantial amount of unearned income, but this is not included in either business or personal income in the national accounts. Any understanding of the income distribution or measurement of income inequality should take into account this major source of unearned income (Ruggles and Ruggles, 1973: 113). Eisner's (1980) paper ‘Capital Gains and Income: Real Changes in the Value of Capital in the United States, 1946-77’ is a comprehensive project concerned with how national accounts should account for capital gains. Eisner (1980) reveals the technical complexity associated with asset revaluations and estimating capital gains within the various institutional sectors. Eisner is convinced that capital gains should be accounted for because they inform us not only about the appropriate level of investment needed to maintain productive renewal but also about how capital gains can modify patterns of consumption and hence GDP. As individuals or as societies we may have wealth that is the present value of an expected future stream of income that does not correspond to our preferred and planned future consumption. A lowering in the rate of interest may increase the value of that wealth and enable us as a consequence to plan a path of consumption that dominates the previous path (Eisner, 1980: 178). The relation between income flow and changes in balance sheet capitalizations (stock) are explained as changes in the pattern of financial transactions and adjustments in asset valuation. National income, flow of funds, and balance sheet statements are the product of double-entry book-keeping which ensures that differences between income and expenditure are represented by corresponding adjustments to the flow of funds and ultimately changes in assets and liabilities where a constant balance is maintained. Thus Godley and Lavoie in their text ‘Monetary Economics’ (2007) remind us of the importance of the concept of double entry book-keeping (the interlocking system of financial assets and liabilities) when constructing a ‘transactions flow matrix’ which captures movements in financial flows and changes in financial stocks within and across institutional sectors. The evolution of the entire system may be characterized (at the level of accounting) by saying that at the beginning of each period, the configuration of stock variables (i.e. all physical stocks together with the interlocking system of financial assets and liabilities) is a summary description of (relevant) past history. (Godley and Lavoie, 2007: 8) Godley and Lavoie (2007) pay considerable attention to the construction of national economy financial accounts and argue that, for the purpose of constructing behavioral models, all transactions and price adjustments must be accounted for between the various institutional sectors. When this is done, the matrix that identifies transactions (income/expenditures and flow of funds) and changes in financial assets and liabilities between the institutional sectors should net out to zero. Without the zero-sum condition in place the authors suggest that system modeling will be corrupted and analogous to a hydraulic machine with ‘leaky pipes.’ The use of logically complete accounts (with every row and every column in the transactions matrix summing to zero) has strong implications for the dynamics of the system as a whole. If the accounting is less than complete in the sense we use, the system dynamics will be subverted – rather as though we were trying to operate a hydraulic machine which had leaky pipes. (Godley and Lavoie, 2007: 9–10) In this paper our objective is not that of accounting for all transactions to complete the ‘productive’ financial matrix of a national business model to generate predictive capacity. Rather, we are concerned with ‘accounting’ for a significant share of the financial flows and balance sheet capitalization within a national business model by broadly defined institutional sectors: corporate financial, non-financial, government and households, observing that there are a variety of means by which ongoing recapitalization(s) can be generated. Fig. 1 simply describes financial transmissions as financial flows (income/expenditure and flow of funds) and also stocks in the form of debt and equity and equivalent assets outstanding within the corporate, government and household institutional sectors where we do not suggest that all financial flows and stocks are, as a result, accounted for. Nevertheless, these broad institutional sectors do account for a significant share of national totals, as Table 1 reveals for the US and UK. Our intention is to employ these broad institutional sectors to explore more general issues about the nature and extent of economic transformation (cash extraction), capitalization (debt and equity balances outstanding) and the way in which financial disturbances are transmitted, amplified and made porous by the system of accounting. In essence, we attempt to capture the structural relationships and potential contradictions between broad institutional financial flows and stocks that describe the aggregate nature of national business models – aspects that are hitherto largely ignored in economic analysis where the focus is on the circular flow of national income. An examination of the relationship between flows and stocks necessitates the use of accounting models and constraints. Dirk Bezemer (2009) argues convincingly that accounting models can specifically help inform policy and responses to the current financial crisis and he draws significantly upon the work of Hyman Minsky observing that: His best-known contribution was to formulate the ‘Financial Instability Hypothesis’ (Minsky, 1978, 1980), which says that financial instability is inherent in monetary capitalism. Periods of prolonged prosperity will cause the financial system to progressively increase its leverage, return rates and risk exposure, proceeding through the stages of ‘hedge finance’ on to ‘speculative’ and finally ‘Ponzi’ finance. (Bezemer, 2009: 11) Minsky's ‘Financial Instability Hypothesis’ is grounded upon three broad organizing elements: the issue of ‘financing the economy’, the notion of ‘financial structure’, and observation about ‘financial innovation’. With regards to the first of these – ‘financing the economy’ – Minsky (1992) draws attention to the role of financial institutions and their role in providing funding on the basis of expectations about earnings. In a Keynes ‘veil of money’ world, the flow of money to firms is a response to expectations of future profits, and the flow of money from firms is financed by profits that are realized. In the Keynes set up, the key economic exchanges take place as a result of negotiations between generic bankers and generic businessmen. The documents ‘on the table’ in such negotiations detail the costs and profit expectations of the businessmen: businessmen interpret the numbers and the expectations as enthusiasts, bankers as skeptics. (Minsky, 1992:4) However this aspect of ‘financing the economy’ is limited because it is far too restrictive, when according to Minsky there is ‘an increasing complexity of the financial structure’ which includes not only the corporate sector but also households raising loans and consumer credit and governments requiring roll-over debt financing. In the modern world, analyses of financial relations and their implications for system behavior cannot be restricted to the liability structure of businesses and the cash flows they entail. Households (by the way of their ability to borrow on credit cards for big ticket consumer goods such as automobiles, house purchases, and to carry financial assets), governments (with their large floating and funded debts), and international units (as a result of the internationalization of finance) have liability structures which the current performance of the economy either validates or invalidates. (Minsky, 1992:5) Within the network of funding relations between the various institutional sectors of a national business model stand the financial intermediaries who are profit seeking and, according to Minsky, will ‘strive to innovate in the assets they acquire and the liabilities they market’ (Minsky, 1992: 6). The outcome of this process of financial innovation is, according to Minsky, that financing units (financial reporting entities) may be financed on the basis that cash flows will cover the loan and interest payments (hedged), need to roll-over their debt through re-financing arrangements (speculative) or may not be able to cover the interest or repay a principal sum (so-called Ponzi schemes). Veblen (2005) in The Theory of Business Enterprise on ‘Modern Business Capital’ observes that capital which is put on the market and actively traded is subjected to ‘an interminable process of valuation and revaluation, i.e. a capitalization and recapitalization’ and that ‘the most elusive and intangible items of this marketable capital are, of course, those items which consist of capitalized good-will’ (Veblen, 2005: 76). That is, goodwill, as representing the difference between book and market values, and how this financial component is incorporated into the collateral for on-going re-capitalizations. In current times Veblen's ‘interminable process of valuation and revaluation’ applies to current cost accounting which revalues assets even though they are not actively traded. Thus firms have less scope to keep valuations at historic cost and soften the impact of revaluation on the return on capital. In the next section we review the trajectory of GDP and balance sheet capitalization within the US and UK economy to establish the degree to which these have diverged over a period of time. We then turn to examine the extent to which cost structures have been transformed to boost earnings capacity to underwrite inflated capitalizations before finally considering the way in which accounting systems transmit, amplify and extend the porosity of financial disturbance within national business models.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
A growing business evolution and complexity literature suggests that the economic system evolves and adapts within a complex pool of information (Beinhocker, 2007 and Hodgson and Knudsen, 2010). In this paper we argue that a national business model can be described as arising out of adaptive stakeholder interactions, within a general econo-sphere, that generate information which congeals into and modifies reported financials (Freeman, 1984, Freeman et al., 2004 and Haslam et al., 2012). Our objective, in this paper, has been to locate the US and UK financialized national business model within a broad accounting framework of analysis to reveal underlying logics as well as inherent contradictions and risks in the process of economic development. Fundamentally, economic transformation manifests as a rising imbalance between wealth creating surplus and wealth accumulating stock over the past three decades. In both the US and UK financialized national business models the process of interminable recapitalization is not simply the product of discounting future corporate cash earnings. As Minsky (1992) observed, the financial system (of a national business model) is the sum of its institutional parts: corporate financial, corporate non-financial, government and households. Where asset trading is brisk, capitalizations can inflate ahead of the capacity to refinance these assets and thus elements of the financial system drift from being hedged into that which are increasingly speculative and ponzi. Furthermore, the calculations, motivations and financial condition of institutional sectors that make up a national business model are also variable. Thus, misalignments between counterparties will emerge and these, in turn, increase the potential for financial disturbance which, by virtue of the accounting system, will not only be transmitted but often amplified. In this paper we suggest that the drivers of financial leverage and ‘capitalization ahead of surplus’ are complex and variable and include: low interest rates, financial innovations, asset churning to extract holding gains, regulatory changes and modifications to accounting standards. In the corporate sector cash surpluses from selling product and services are blended with holding gains extracted from asset inflation to secure the foundation for additional collateral and financial leverage whilst central governments have become dependent upon low interest rates and favorable sovereign debt ratings to lever roll-over finance to cover accumulating deficits. Households have become accustomed to extracting financial leverage out of holding gains from real estate and pension assets to boost current income or further inflate their capitalizations. In the UK the current coalition government is tasking itself with rebalancing the economy and US regulators are looking forward to ‘macro-prudential’ management of the economy. In this article we employ a loose business model framework of analysis grounded in accounting to draw attention to: earnings/surplus capacity, balance sheet capitalization and net worth in financialized national business models. In credit based economies, when assets are traded in brisk secondary markets, goodwill becomes indistinguishable from original tangible collateral and is then incorporated into ongoing re-capitalizations. This process contributes to economic instability because the institutional sectors that constitute national business models are variably exposed to adverse movements in liquidity, capitalization and net-worth for solvency. Adjustments to capitalization initially arising out of a small financial disturbance will be transmitted and amplified by accounting systems within national business models. As Fisher (1933) succinctly observed: Assuming, accordingly, that, at some point of time, a state of over-indebtedness exists, this will tend to lead to liquidation, through the following chain of consequences…. (1) Debt liquidation leads to distress selling and to (2) Contraction of deposit currency, as bank loans are paid off, and to a slowing down of velocity of circulation. This contraction of deposits and of their velocity, precipitated by distress selling, causes (3) A fall in the level of prices, in other words, a swelling of the dollar. Assuming, as above stated, that this fall of prices is not interfered with by reflation or otherwise, there must be (4) A still greater fall in the net worths of business, precipitating bankruptcies. (Fisher, 1933: 341–342 emphasis from original)