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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Haberler Highlights the Role of Accounting in Austrian Business Cycle Theory

I found this passage very interesting:
Bookkeeping is more or less based on the assumption of a constant value of money. Periods of major inflations have shown that this tradition is very deeply rooted and that long and disagreeable experiences are necessary to change the habit. One of the consequences is that durable means of production--such as machines and factory buildings--figure in cost accounts at the actual cost of acquisition, and are written off on that basis. If prices rise, this procedure is illegitimate. The enhanced replacement cost should be substituted for the original cost of acquisition. This, however, is not done, or is done only to an insufficient extent and only after prices have risen considerably. The consequence is that too little is written off, paper profits appear, and the entrepreneur is tempted to increase his consumption. Capital in such case is treated as income. -- Prosperity and Depression, p. 49

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