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Pacioli’s Lens: Through a glass, darkly

Macve, Richard (2021) Pacioli’s Lens: Through a glass, darkly. Accounting Historians Journal, 49 (1). pp. 83-92. ISSN 0148-4184

[img] Text (Lens Comment for AHJ accepted 30.9.21) - Accepted Version
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It has long been argued that double-entry bookkeeping (‘DEB’) was important for enabling capitalism’s development in the West and heralded the beginning of ‘modern accounting’. However, these claims remain contested so it is important to understand the history of DEB’s emergence about 700 years ago and its underlying rationale. Sangster (2018a) [Pacioli's Lens: God, Humanism, Euclid, and the Rhetoric of Double Entry. The Accounting Review, 93(2): 299-314] argues that, in the first printed manual on DEB in 1494, Pacioli presented a novel ‘axiomatic’ approach to explaining DEB that requires a corresponding ‘paradigmatic shift’ in our appreciation of his contribution. This paper challenges Sangster’s interpretation of Pacioli’s mathematical contribution and calls for deeper understanding of the historical development of DEB in the West by comparison with accounting developments in the East.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 American Accounting Association
Divisions: Accounting
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
Q Science > QA Mathematics
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
JEL classification: B - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology > B1 - History of Economic Thought through 1925 > B11 - Preclassical
C - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods > C0 - General > C00 - General
M - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting > M4 - Accounting and Auditing > M40 - General
P - Economic Systems > P5 - Comparative Economic Systems > P52 - Comparative Studies of Particular Economies
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2021 15:48
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 03:28

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