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Edited by Trevor Hopper, Mathew Tsamenyi, Shahzad Uddin and Danture Wickramasinghe
Chapter 4: The Role of Transnational Institutions in Framing Accounting in the Global South
Cameron Graham and Marcia Annisette INTRODUCTION Economic development does not happen naturally. It is a heavily politicized, highly structured, conflictual process. It pits institution against institution, government against government, and often race against race. It happens through coercion and seduction as much as through logic and analysis. In this chapter, we examine the parallel processes of high-level suasion and low-level insinuation by which transnational institutions frame accounting in the global south1, shaping and influencing practices and regulations in order to fashion a tool fit for their purposes. Of course, an alternative start to this chapter might read something like the following: Economic development cannot happen without the pre-existence of institutionalized processes that facilitate the transfer of information, the transparent management of funding arrangements, and the safeguarding of vital private sector investments. Transnational institutions like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and even the United Nations are working hard to ensure that all countries can compete on a level playing field. Which of these perspectives is more helpful in understanding how transnational institutions influence accounting practices in the global south? The answer, we would argue, depends largely on one’s level of analysis. At the level of policy, the creation of consistent standards for disclosing what entities have done with the money they have been given, whether by governments, aid organizations or private investors, helps grease the wheels of development, reducing the risks associated with funding arrangements between parties who are at considerable geographic and...
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