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Chapitre D'ouvrage Année : 2014

Why Profit and Loss Didn't Matter: The Historicized Rationality of Early Modern Commerce

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Résumé

The chapter offers a new reading of merchant accounting rationality in the Early Modern era. A detailed study of the way double-entry accounting was used both theoretically, by various French and British accounting textbooks, and in practice, by two large traders, one French and one North American, results in the conclusion that the main goal of the users of double-entry was not to calculate the return on a given activity or merchandise, but to track the flows of credit generated by transactions with external partners. Profits and losses were a source of errors from this point of view, and the principal aim of accounting activity was to filter them out of the accounts, not to analyze them strategically, but to safeguard the integrity of each description of credit flows.
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Dates et versions

hal-01487677 , version 1 (02-03-2018)

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  • HAL Id : hal-01487677 , version 1

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Pierre Gervais. Why Profit and Loss Didn't Matter: The Historicized Rationality of Early Modern Commerce. Pierre Gervais; Yannick Lemarchand; Dominique Margairaz. Merchants and Profit in the Age of Commerce, 1680-1830, Pickering & Chatto, pp.33-52, 2014, 9781138663176. ⟨hal-01487677⟩
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