Accounting for war

M. Chwastiak, G. Lehman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the ways in which accounting has helped to rationalize and normalize violence and how this has contributed to the acceleration and expansion of war. It is argued that accounting is a product of the "social imaginary" of modernity which projects a brutal attitude towards others by instrumentalizing relationships. Accounting's reliance on instrumental rationality and economic efficiency provides the ideological justification for destroying the environment and others. Accounting's role in perpetrating war and warlike behaviors is demonstrated in relation to our war with the environment, the expansionistic logic of capitalism, dehumanization and distance, globalization, the silent war of economic sanctions and the extent to which war is good for business.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-326
Number of pages14
JournalAccounting Forum
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008


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