He did not have to seek out rare or hard-to-access archival sources to find persuasive evidence.²⁴. and accounting for how we respect human rights in practice. Caitlin Rosenthal explores quantitative management practices on West Indian and Southern plantations, showing how planter-capitalists built sophisticated organizations and used complex accounting tools. This view does not include slavery. Generations of historians and scholars have asked it in different ways since emancipation and even before. In the British Caribbean, some estimates suggest that as many as half of New Negroes died within three years of arrival.⁶ Though rates eventually stabilized, malnutrition, disease, suicide, and the punishing labor of sugar production continued to claim many lives, just as they did on Island Estate.⁷, When he prepared the Account of Negroes, Joseph Foster Barham’s manager created both an inventory of capital assets and a kind of organizational chart. What stories was I missing by encountering production through a spreadsheet? Pricing Lives by Height and Sex, January 5, 1861. Mortality rates were staggering upon first arrival—the deadly period planters referred to as seasoning. Choose one or a combination of many that speak to you and run […] Work Log on Pleasant Hill Plantation after Emancipation, 1867. Most range across a familiar array of industries, inventors, and executives usually associated with innovation and the coming of capitalism—eighteenth-century merchants; nineteenth-century textile manufacturers, canal diggers, railroad tycoons, and financiers; and twentieth-century automobile manufacturers, high-tech founders, and consultants. Like other entrepreneurs, slaveholders strove to mobilize capital and motivate labor, regularly turning to numbers as an aid to profits. The precise reply still depends on how you define capitalism, but to a great extent we know the answer: slavery was central to the emergence of the economic system that now goes by that name.⁴, Scores of historians and economists have contributed to this debate. At a minimum, slaveholders (and those who bought their products) built an innovative, global, profit-hungry labor regime that contributed to the emergence of the modern economy.⁹. As much as these plantation records can tell us about the history of capitalism, they can tell us at least as much about the history of business practices. Alongside these occupational categories, planters classified children and the elderly by sex and by age. It shows how easily the connections between capitalism and slavery can be overlooked. By demonstrating that business innovation can be a byproduct of bondage Rosenthal further erodes the false boundary between capitalism and slavery. The Cotton Screw as an Instrument of Improvement. ON DECEMBER 31, 1767, the attorney or overseer on one of Joseph Foster Barham’s Jamaican plantations sat down to balance the books. Part 1: There are quite a few subtopics to choose from within this forum question part 1; you need not address them all. he replied, In its entirety—none; not one.¹⁷, And yet, scientific management’s symbolic power is undeniable. Accounting for Slavery My first book, Accounting for Slavery: Masters and Management, will be published in August 2018 by Harvard University Press. Writing about a very different period and industry in his business history classic Strategy and Structure, Alfred Chandler argued for the importance of administration to the emergence of the modern economy. When HBR marked its ninetieth anniversary in 2012, Taylor made it into all three featured essays, offering an inspirational touchstone for the ability of managers to transform the economy.²⁹ The symbolic power of slavery’s scientific management is less inspirational but perhaps even more important. It was remarkably easy for slaveholders to overlook the human costs of their profits, and it can be similarly convenient for modern managers (and consumers) to forget the conditions under which goods are made. In fact, this distance gave me an advantage. FIGURE P.1. |. 28 Theories of accounting-related choice. At its peak, scientific agriculture influenced the practices of thousands of planters and overseers. In her ambitious first book, Accounting for Slavery: Masters and Management, Caitlin Rosenthal, a former management consultant turned historian, insightfully analyzes North American slaveholders’ management practices, arguing that “slaveholders dealt with complex challenges in sophisticated ways, often concurrent with and sometimes prior to managers in other settings” (8). The peaceful illustration offers a desktop landscape of pens, pencils, account books, and scrolls. Teaching balances technical accounting with management theory and practice, so you'll learn to manage effectively and make sound strategic and business and financial decisions. A stag—perhaps a paperweight—completes the pastoral view from the planter’s desk. What happens when businesses grow so big that they can only be comprehended quantitatively? West Indian Practices Suited for a Southern Plantation, 1835. Enslaved People and Livestock in Clarendon and Vere Parishes, 1779. Each side was carefully subdivided into twenty-nine columns, each representing a category of slaves (see Figure 1.1). Slavery became a laboratory for the development of accounting because the control drawn on paper matched the reality of the plantation more closely than that of almost any other early American business enterprise.¹³ In nineteenth-century America, manufacturers employing wageworkers developed a range of strategies to increase their control over laborers’ lives, from building company towns to hiring private investigators to conduct surveillance. At its origins, the word first meant verification, but by the late sixteenth century it had come to encompass the direction, management, and surveillance that verification required.¹² These origins are often overlooked today, though the top accounting officer in a corporation is still called the controller or the comptroller. 29 Earnings management. | Slavery—Economic aspects—West Indies, British—History—19th century. 5.1. 3.3. When I started graduate school, I wanted to understand the history of this outlook and the scale that accompanied it. When I began this project, I did not intend to write a book about slavery. Their burgeoning numeracy was part of a broader expansion of quantitative information practices into new sectors. paper). Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover (8/27/2018) In 1974, two management scholars called Taylor’s most famous experiment, which redesigned the simple task of lifting pig iron into trucks, a pig tale, concluding that it was more fiction than fact.¹⁶ A search of management literature turns up no estimates of how widely the system was actually implemented. Given what historians know about slavery, the fact that many slaveholders were accomplished managers should not be surprising. By observing and reorganizing the motions of workers, Taylor claimed to be able to achieve massive gains in productivity. 30 Theories of accounting practice. 5.2. 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