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Making Things Valuable$
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Martin Kornberger, Lise Justesen, Jan Mouritsen, and Anders Koed Madsen

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198712282

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198712282.001.0001

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Value in the Age of Doubt

Value in the Age of Doubt

Accounting as a Maieutic Machine

Chapter:
(p.38) 2 Value in the Age of Doubt
Source:
Making Things Valuable
Author(s):

Paolo Quattrone

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198712282.003.0003

What are the roles of calculative and valuation practices such as accounting in contemporary economies? Market-based and neoliberal ideologies have created a great divide between accounting and valuation, where the former is a mere technique to represent ‘true and fair’ views of financial transactions and the latter is the only mechanism believed to produce objective valuations. It is time to reduce this divide and bring valuations back into the accounting realm and to reconceive accounting as an opportunity for reflection on, rather than representation of, value and values. Here financial values are thought as always beyond finance. The author redefines accounting as a ‘maieutic machine’ whose objective is to help users to raise the right questions by instilling doubt, rather than certainties, in those who use accounting numbers. It is argued that a representational system designed to operationalize doubt generates more, and not less, knowledge. This may bring a bit of wisdom back into valuation practices.

Keywords:   accounting, valuation, maieutic machine, doubt, economy, finance

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