Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Accountancy


People in the present age have enjoyed unprecedented levels of (material) welfare due to the advancement of science and technology. On the other hand, they have been suffering, considerable reductions in their socio-economic welfare due to the adverse effects of the activities of corporations. Since the 1980s the dimensions of this reduction in people's welfare has grown to a level which threatens, even, the sustainability of humans on the planet. People are well and truly in need of figuring a way out of these crises. This study aims to investigate the role accounting can play to this end.

A great deal of business activities are socially undesirable. The micro local/regional-level socio-economic welfare-reducing problems of the 1960s and 1970s have grown to a macro global/universal-level. Their significance, furthermore, has increased to an extent which makes the bases of the sustainability of humans on the Earth questionable. The socio-economic ills of the 1960s and 1970s, such as air, water, noise, heat and soil pollution, oppression, production and sale of unsafe and faulty products as well as injustice and unfairness resulting from discrimination have all reduced the welfare of members of societies at the micro local/regional-level. With the crises of the 1980s and onward, the macro-level adverse results of the activities of corporations threaten the sustainability of not only the neighbouring habitants, but also the sustainability of all of the members of present as well as future generations. Such unsustainability issues as the greenhouse effect, the global warming of the planet, ozone layer erosion, acid rains, species annihilation and so forth have well and truly surpassed the social responsibility accounting issues of the 1960s and 1970s. A Sustainability Accounting is called for.

This study is an attempt to research the way in which accounting can contribute to the solution of these problems. A cause-effect-analysis perspective will be taken to approach the problem. That is, the research will be held on the general assumption that the only basic and crucial w a y to treat any phenomenon is to perceive and study it in relation to its cause(s). If the causing phenomena are treated, the phenomenon itself is treated as well.

To formulate a system of accounting for the welfare reducing and sustainability threatening issues, therefore, the underlying philosophical foundations/factors which rationalise and justify the undesirable activities of corporations will be investigated. Western capitalistic economic system, the dominant economic religion of most of the present day societies, will be critically analysed and compared with Islamic Economic System (IES). Based on the findings, then, solutions will be researched.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.