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The historical significance of double-entry bookkeeping: Some non-Sombartian claims

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Werner Sombart's views on the connection between double-entry bookkeeping and the rise of capitalism are well known and have been influential. In recent decades other views - independent of Sombart's - claiming historical significance for double entry have also been published. Three of these disparate claims are considered in this article: the connection between double entry and Manichaeism; the influence of the rhetoric of double entry; and double entry and the recognition in Western Europe of zero as a number.

Keywords: Accounting history; Luca Pacioli; Manichaeism; Werner Sombart; rhetoric; zero

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: London School of Economics and Political Science London

Publication date: 2005-03-01

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