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Title : Some questions about the book "The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations"
Dear Jacob Doll
I'm Siyun Min studying AI and statistics in South Korea. I'm also pursuing career at finance.
I was impressed with your book "The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations" as I wrote this email.
I could understand that accounting fully affect economic success, economic history and the government’s policies as well as accounting is recording companies’ cashflow.
Especially from Renaissance Italy to credit rating companies such as Moody’s and Fitch you mentioned, I could understand the value of accounting and really appreciate about it.
As I read your publication, I drew following questions. If you never mind, please answer these questions or gave me some materials related to these.
Question one. Why monarch really interested in accounting?
You wrote that from ancient Rome, monarch really interested in flow of cash, and understanding accounting is essential component of economy. However, in my opinion, at that time monarch was regarded as the God, so they don’t have to care about public sentiments. They could raise the tax rate as they want, rob precious thing from others. I don’t know why monarch really considered transparent accounting practices dangerous, why monarch tolerate accounting system.

Question two. Why innovative and effective accounting system did not extend beyond Renaissance Italy?
I could realize the value of accounting, but I could not understand why monarch did not accept accounting system. If accoutability is basement of stable state order, why they abandon the opportunity to make their state stable? Does the history of city state in Italy hamper the extension of accounting system?

Question three. Does corruption comes from an individual or system?
As I read Philip II’s crisis in chapter 4, I wonder does corruption caused by an individual or system. I understand that you explained the crisis of the Spanish monarchy seemed a crisis of accounting and accountability. Does we have to blame an individual on absence of accountability? If not, we have to blame culture which do not make accountability culture?
I’d like to appreciate again that I could think deeply about accounting system and recognize abundant historical materials.
Siyun Kevin Min

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