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Publication Date

2000

Abstract

Hoskin and Macve (H&M) continue to accredit certain events in the early 1840s as enabling the creation of norm-based accounting and its use to control labor and improve productivity at the Springfield Armory (SA). Although critics have refuted H&M's interpretation of these events and reproached their use of inflated language, H&M maintain their unique perspective with undiminished fervor. This rejoinder further questions the validity of H&M's perspective of U.S. accounting history. It identifies the many conventional business historians who refute it and emphasizes that no other evidence has been presented to indicate that norm-based accounting was ever employed in the U.S. before the early 1900s. It also describes how H&M have tried to bolster their position by citing several contemporary and more critical scholars who in fact refute it. More substantively, the paper emphasizes that the core debate between H&M and their critics is not simply over the timing of particular events at SA. Rather, it centers on the nature of historical evidence and the distinction between history and historicism.

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