Contemporary accounting conceptual frameworks depict reporting entities as self-evident stand-alone units whose current activities are likely to continue. That representation is revisited in light of Veblen's (1904) sabotage thesis that managers routinely utilize mechanisms that disrupt underlying markets. Credit default swaps played a significant role in the 2008 subprime financial crisis, blurring the boundaries of entities to create entanglements that threatened the global financial infrastructure. The reporting entity and going concern concepts developed in a climate of philosophical pragmatism operating from a flawed premise that a scientific approach assures objective, value-free data. The conventional treatment of reporting entities is contrasted with emerging conversations that paint “the firm” as a legal fiction functioning within a dynamic and potentially unstable matrix. The paper argues that a distorted view on the underlying nature of the firm masks significant public interest issues, making it difficult to address problems inherent in interdependent institutional structures.

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