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Title: Power and international accounting regulation : accounting policy making at the united nations
Author: Rahman, Sheikh Fazlur
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 1988
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The process of international accounting regulation is somewhat diffuse. Many organisations, e.g., the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the United Nations (UN) are involved -- each with its own different constituency, authority structure, and more importantly, its obj ectives. The third world nations' demands for greater disclosure by Transnational Corporations (INCs) have been taken up by the UN -- a debate to which the OECD and the lASC have also contributed. Negotiations over an acceptable set of disclosure standards have been carried on at the UN for more than twelve years. During this period the UN has repeatedly changed its position and has eventually failed to come up with a comprehensive set of final recommendations. It has, in effect, abandoned its pioneering stance as an accounting policy maker. This research attempts to investigate this failure of the UN by examining in some depth the accounting policy making process of the UN - - which in many senses reflects the tussle between the third world nations and the developed market economies. The political nature of accounting policy making is recognised and political concepts of '~' are used to understand and explain the process. In particular. the decision-oriented (i.e. One-Dimensional) pluralist methodology of power is used to analyse the conflicts and policy outcomes at the UN. tv Empirical evidence shows that organised pressures from the TNCs, co-ordinated under the joint forum of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) , was strengthened by the support given by governments of developed market economies active within various UN bodies and committees. The rule of one-nation, one-vote and decision making by majority vote -- provided for in the UN Charter - - was frequently overriden with a claim for decision making by absolute unanimity. This claim, coupled with a threat of non-compliance if decisions were taken otherwise, compelled the third world majority to accept the 'de facto veto' of a powerful minority. The United Nation's position on accounting policy issues has been significantly shifted through he use of such 'de facto veto' by the developed market economies. The conclusion is reached that given the present state of international economic relations, the economic power of the TNCs and their home countries, and in spite of the formal power (i.e. voting majority) in the hands of the third world countries the 'status guo' has largely been maintained. Also, in order to avoid the present embarrassing reality of frequently facing a host of developing nations at the UN the developed nations have seen other forums, particularly the OECD and the lASC, as being more amenable to their own purposes and eventually have been successful in converting the UN into a mere discussion forum rather than an accounting regulatory body.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available