The evolution of modern accounting consists essentially of a series of pragmatic responses to the needs of capital. Accounting is implicated, therefore, in the maintenance and creation of societies in which relations are primarily defined in terms of property, however it is distributed, and justice is determined by the sanctity of property rights. Accounting historians are encouraged to broaden the compass of their research to include the association between accounting and justice which is already well recognised in the critical accounting literature. Theories of justice, especially those of 19th century political theorists such as Bentham and Senior, and more recently that of Nozick, are used to explore the close association between property, accounting and justice at the time of the Irish potato famine of 1845–7.

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