The evolution of bookkeeping methods in China: A Darwinist analysis of developments during the twentieth-century

Xu-Dong Ji, Wei Lu

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6 Citations (Scopus)


This article reviews the historical development of bookkeeping methods in China during the twentieth century by applying the Universal Darwinism theory developed by Dawkins (1983) and Hodgson (2002). According to Dawkins and Hodgson, the biological principles of variation, selection and inheritance can be applied to cultural and other forms of evolution. This article applies these principles to critically evaluate the evolution of double-entry bookkeeping methods in China during the twentieth century. It concludes that bookkeeping methods are selected by their surrounding environment which is determined by the political, economic and cultural factors of that particular period. The methods selected are those that adapt best or are most suited to a change in the environment. Different methods compete for the dominant position. If a single method cannot be exclusively selected, then multiple methods may be permitted to co-exist. This conclusion can also explain why, in general, pluralism is a very prevalent phenomenon in accounting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317 - 341
Number of pages25
JournalAccounting History
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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