Episode 111: Accounting for Capitalism’s Economic Crises—Interview with Rob Bryer

Andrew welcomes Rob Bryer, an emeritus professor of accounting at the Warwick Business School, to discuss his just-published book, Accounting for Crises: A Marxist History of American Accounting Theory, c. 1929- 2007. Building on three related books Rob has published in recent years, Accounting for Crises provides a novel explanation of both the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Great Recession and global financial crisis of 2008-2009, rooted in Karl Marx’s theory of capitalist economic crisis as well as Rob’s own understanding of accounting theory and history. Its overall account of crises focuses, as Marx did, on the interaction between the falling rate of profit, “moral hazard,” and “swindling,” while introducing an added element—the role that accounting theory and practice play. Tackling the question of why both the Great Depression and the Great Recession began in, and were more severe in, the United States, Rob attributes this phenomenon to the country’s “exceptional” accounting theory, which gives the green light to accounting practices that enable corporate managers to engage in “swindling” that, among other things, impedes the destruction of capital-value.

Listeners may benefit from the set of written questions and answers, prepared by Rob, on which the interview is based; they differ slightly from the recorded version. Andrew’s 2012 book, The Failure of Capitalist Production: Underlying Causes of the Great Recession is referred to during the interview.

Plus current-events segment: Grab ‘em by the purse strings! Gabriel and Andrew discuss the judgments against Donald Trump in the Trump Organization fraud case and E. Jean Carroll’s case, and the $500 million-plus he now owes.

Radio Free Humanity is a podcast covering news, politics and philosophy from a Marxist-Humanist perspective.
It is co-hosted by Gabriel Donnelly and Andrew Kliman. We intend to release new episodes every two weeks.
Radio Free Humanity is sponsored by MHI, but the views expressed by the hosts and guests of Radio Free Humanity are their own. They do not necessarily reflect the views and positions of MHI. We welcome and encourage listeners’ comments, posted on this episode’s page.

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February 23, 2024

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