Not only economic, but also social hubris? Is child mortality in the wealthiest OECD nations a case to answer for “Anglo-American” countries and their approach to accounting and business?

David Collison, Colin Dey, Gwen Hannah, Lorna Stevenson

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    This paper considers differences between different forms of capitalism which exist within the OECD. We distinguish between the “Anglo-American” or “stock market” and “social market”
    forms of capitalism as regards their business cultures and their societal health. The putative superiority of the Anglo-American, free-market, and shareholder-centred approach to economic and social organisation has been a feature of analysis in the business media and in the corporate governance literature. This rhetoric has perhaps been temporarily muted more recently in the aftermath of the banking crisis and subsequent recession. However, long before the “credit crunch” raised questions about the wisdom of the Anglo-American approach to capitalism, its much hyped “success” could be put into perspective by considering some very significant non-financial indicators of societal well being. These are presented in the latter part of the chapter and reveal a systemic cause for concern amongst the Anglo-American economies. This chapter highlights and juxtaposes with the social data, another shared characteristic of the Anglo-American countries, and that is their common approach to financial accounting which reflects and supports the Anglo-American business model of maximising shareholder value. The aim of this chapter is therefore to reveal, and question, the arrogance of an ideology based on maximising shareholder value, to highlight the way in which its highly contestable values have typically been treated in influential accounting and media discourse as conventional wisdom and to present evidence of its capacity for social harm. The implicit critique is based on the authors? analysis of child mortality figures amongst
    the 24 richest countries of the OECD which contrasts the results for the “Anglo-American” countries with the rest.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProgress in economics research
    EditorsAlbert Tavidze
    PublisherNova Science Publishers
    Number of pages12
    ISBN (Print)9781616685478
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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