[OPE-L:3126] Re: Straight & Moral

John Ernst (ernst@nyc.pipeline.com)
Wed, 25 Sep 1996 10:14:41 -0700 (PDT)

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Well, you're ahead of me in the pursuit of "The
History of Accounting Thought." In scanning
through the card catalogs of NYC libraries I
discovered one possible vrey interesting text.

The Late 19th Century Debate over Depreciation, Capital
and Income

which was edited by Richard P. Brief, published by Arno
Press in 1976.

If anyone has a copy of the out-of-print text, I'd like to
borrow it. There are two unchecked out copies of it
at NYU. Unfortuantely, I have no library priviledges
at NYU. Does anyone on the list? If so, I'd like to
speak with you about checking it out for a bit of time.


On Sep 25, 1996 08:41:09, 'Iwao Kitamura <ikita@st.rim.or.jp>' wrote:

>John [3024]F
>>I am making no grand theoritical claims here. But I do
>>think the manner in which capitalists used various
>>methods of depreciation as well as the way in which
>>the various techniques arose in "The History of
>>Accounting Thought" might be of interest.
>I could spend several hours to find any reference about accounting
>in the previous century at the library. I found several books written in
>that describe debates around accounting methodologies in Germany.
>I'm not an expert nor a researcher in this area, but the historical debate

>in accounting methodology for depreciation can be a reference. So I pick
>some components from those books.
>Katsuzo Baba(#1) writes that accounting theory in Germany developed since
>"Aktiennovelle" (1870) regulated valuation of property. This regulation
>31th article) was too abstract that capitalist properties are to be valued
>"gemeiner Wert" (=general value). In practice, it meant that properties
>at thier purchaced price or production costs. Fixed assets were to be
>cost - depreciation as exceptional.
>It is interesting that accounting was regulated at first for stock
>least in Germany. What was the cases in anglo-world? The dutch East India
>company had its accounting method as the first stock company, I think.
>The necessity of accounting would be derived from collective investment
>individual capitalists have different relations to a project (company). If
>individual capitalist hold a company, there would be no necessity of
>sheet and valuation of profit. A fund flow sheet is enough for her/him.
>Baba points:
>1870 law had its standpoint at interest of creditors. The standpoint of
>and the one of industrial capitalist show a certain difference in counting

>Jiro Asaha writes that the problem of the1870 law raised debate of
>fixed assets when industrialization developed. Railroad engineer Hermann
>criticized the standpoint of 1870 in law his "Ueber Bilanz". His points
>1. A balance sheet is constructed with real items and ideal items. Real
>ordinary counting thought and relate to profit-loss counting. In contrast,

>items relate to managerial financial aim and also to external aim like
>2. ideal items on debt are regulated by ideal items on asset.
>Baba writes about the situation of accounting debate after Scheffler's
>Simon distinguished objects to be sold and objects to be utilized from
>wanted to apply different valuation methodology for them. Thus Simon
>subjective principle of balance sheets. In his depreciation theory,
>(Abnutzung) is devided into substancial decrease (Substanzveringerung) and

>utility decrease (Brauchbarkeitveringerung).
>Baba continues:
>Rudolf Fischer criticized Simon for his incompleteness and Simon's attempt

>to apply valuation in economics to accounting. He constructed his theory
>of accounting on the basis of circulation of corporate capital. He placed
>depreciation as a matter of management policy. For him, depreciation
>expresses loss of property (Vermoegensverlust), but it is only assumed
>(fingierte) or anticipated (antizipierte) loss.
>BTW, I'm interested in the case in anglo- world.