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Friday, 6 May 2011

Financial capital maintenance in units of constant purchasing power

Financial capital maintenance in units of constant purchasing power


Constant Item Purchasing Power Accounting is a price–level accounting model where under only constant items (not variable items) are continuously measured in units of constant purchasing power, i.e., updated every time the real value of the unstable monetary unit of account (money) changes; namely, when the CPI changes - month after month during low inflation and deflation.

Value accounting has been defined in since 1976 via IFRS relating to variable items. Value accounting thus clearly prevails in the valuation and accounting of variable items in terms of IFRS during low inflation and deflation.

Continuous financial capital maintenance in units of constant purchasing power during low inflation and deflation has also been authorized by the IASC Board thirteen years after Harvey Kapnick´s 1976 prediction. The IASC Board approved the Framework (1989), Par 104 (a) which states that “Financial capital maintenance can be measured in either nominal monetary units or units of constant purchasing power.” However, the enormous real value eroding effect of the very erosive stable measuring unit assumption when entities choose in terms of the exact same Framework (1989), Par 104 (a), the IASB–approved very popular accounting fallacy of financial capital maintenance in nominal monetary units (the traditional Historical Cost Accounting model) and apply it in the valuing of constant items never maintained, e.g. retained earnings in most entities, in low inflationary economies when they implement stable measuring unit assumption during inflation, is not generally realized. This is clearly verified by the fact that both financial capital maintenance in nominal monetary units (a popular accounting fallacy) as well as real value maintaining continuous financial capital maintenance in units of constant purchasing power during inflation and deflation were approved in IFRS in the Framework (1989), Par 104 (a). Entities can choose the one or the other and state that they have prepared primary financial statements in terms of IFRS. However, when the the traditional HCA model is chosen, the stable measuring unit assumption unknowingly, unintentionally and unnecessarily erodes hundreds of billions of US Dollars in real value in the world´s constant item economy during low inflation. When they choose IFRS–approved continuous financial capital maintenance in units of constant purchasing power they maintain the real values of all constant items constant during inflation and deflation in companies which at least break even, empowering and enriching those companies, their shareholders and the economy in general with the accompanying benefits to workers and employment for an unlimited period of time – all else being equal.

As the Deutsche Bundesbank stated:
“The benefits of price stability, on the other hand, can scarcely be overestimated, especially as these are, in principle, unlimited in duration and accrue year after year.”

Deutsche Bundesbank, 1996 Annual Report, P 83.

Financial capital maintenance in units of constant purchasing power during inflation and deflation results in absolute price stability only in constant items for an unlimited period of time in companies that at least break even – all else being equal – without the need for extra capital from capital providers or more retained earnings simply to maintain the existing constant real value of existing constant items constant. This happens whether these entities own any fixed assets or not.


Nicolaas Smith

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