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The Architecture of Accounting and the Neoliberal Betrayal of Life

Funnell, Warwick, Jupe, Robert (2021) The Architecture of Accounting and the Neoliberal Betrayal of Life. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, . ISSN 1045-2354. (doi:10.1016/ (KAR id:88732)


This paper identifies the way in which accounting practices reinforced the increasing influence of the intolerant financial emphasis of the market on the quality of social housing under neoliberalism when successive British governments gave little importance to the impact of aesthetic and ethical qualities of social housing on the well-being of inhabitants. Social values, most especially safety and beauty, were able to be reinterpreted according to economic logic, thereby denying the need for them to be explicitly considered in any social housing decisions. The study emphasises the way in which the austerity and deregulation agenda of neoliberal policies that had a significant impact on building and fire safety regulations were ultimately justified by financial criteria. The Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 belatedly exposed the way in which the financial and operational visibilities created by accounting practices had become crucial to the successful implementation of the economic logic of the neoliberal agenda and related market priorities of successive British governments, irrespective of the consequences. The paper demonstrates how the Grenfell Tower refurbishment was the apotheosis of neoliberalism; a toxic mix of austerity, outsourcing and deregulation. The focus on value for money in the refurbishment led ultimately to the betrayal of life of the residents.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/
Uncontrolled keywords: Accounting; Grenfell Tower; Social housing; Neoliberalism; Foucault
Subjects: J Political Science > JF Political institutions and public administration
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Department of Accounting and Finance
Depositing User: Warwick Funnell
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2021 10:51 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2022 00:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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