Tag Archives: blame avoidance

The purgatorial shadows of war: Accounting, blame and shell shock pensions 1914-23

Miley, F.M. & Read, A.F. (2015). The purgatorial shadows of war: Accounting, blame and shell shock pensions 1914-23. Paper presented at eighth Accounting History International Conference, Ballarat.

Abstract: This research is a qualitative analysis of the role of accounting in British disablement pensions awarded to men who sustained shell shock during their Army service in the First World War. It suggests that accounting classification of shell shock for pension determination purposes supported a view of shell shock which made men with shell shock scapegoats of a system that was often unsupportive. Accounting classification contributed to the lack of support by distancing pension decision-makers from the moral consequences of pension determinations. This was able to occur because the British government used accounting classification as part of a mechanism to avoid blame for its pension determination choices. This research contributes to an ongoing debate about the role of government by suggesting that the functions of government provide opportunities for accounting to simultaneously serve a neutral role as mere inscription while being a social and moral construct.

Paper available through Andrew Read’s ResearchGate page.

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Talkin’ about my generation : Accounting and pirate radio

Miley, F.M & Read, A.F. (2015), Talkin’ about my generation : Accounting and pirate radio, Paper presented at the eighth Accounting History International Conference, Ballarat.

Abstract: In the 1960s, the British Broadcasting Corporation had a monopoly on radio broadcasting in Britain, controlling what was broadcast. This monopoly was maintained through an alliance among the government, the BBC and the Musician’s Union. This monopoly was challenged by pirate radio stations operating outside British territorial limits. This research examines the use of financial controls by the British Government to suppress the largest pirate radio station, Radio Caroline. Radio Caroline subverted the BBC monopoly through playing rock music and making money through advertising. The government implemented financial control mechanisms that ensured Radio Caroline could not operate profitably. While these controls led to the demise of Radio Caroline, they failed to suppress rock music or the youth culture it represented. Examining the role of accounting and financial control in the suppression of Radio Caroline illustrates how private sector accounting can provide a mechanism for government blame avoidance.

Full paper available through Andrew Read’s ResearchGate page