Abstract

Abstract:

This paper asks what we might learn about the “grammatical structures” of capitalism by “reading” the balance sheets of nonprofit organizations. To those ends, it turns to the appraisal and liquidation of the League of Nations’ assets at the time of the organization’s dissolution in 1946. Rather than describing the whole process, the paper narrows in on the liquidation board’s decision to price a valuable collection of gifts and historical objects as zero in the final financial calculation. Drawing on theories of gifts and symbolic exchange, the paper asks what the history of that non-price tells us more broadly about the pecuniary role of what accountants call goodwill not only in the workings of international organizations, but also in relation to both the tangible and intangible nature of modern capital itself.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2576-6406
Print ISSN
2576-6392
Pages
pp. 379-404
Launched on MUSE
2020-07-29
Open Access
No
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