Accounting for the financialized UK and US national business model
Yin, Ya Ping
The term ‘business model’ (BM) is generally used to describe the possibilities of transforming corporate activities and business functions (Osterwalder et al,2005 and Magretta,2002) In this paper we argue that our understanding of what constitutes a BM can be reworked to generate a useful organizing framework to investigate the nature of national economic development and transformation. Our argument is that national business models are subtended within a broad econo‐sphere where they evolve and adapt to information arising out of stakeholder interactions. These interactions congeal into reported financial numbers that are represented as GDP flow (income and surplus) and Balance Sheet accumulations (assets and liabilities outstanding). In this paper we employ financial data from national accounts to specifically describe how the US and UK national business models have financialized. We observe that balance sheet capitalization has inflated ahead of earnings and surplus. Our argument is that the capitalization of a national business model is not simply the mathematical product of discounting corporate cash earnings. The process of on‐going capitalization is also conditioned by variable institutional sector characteristics where financial innovation is possible and, within credit based economies, goodwill and holding gains arising out of asset inflation also provide collateral for further ongoing recapitalizations. In financialized national business models the system of accounting takes on added analytical significance because it ‘transmits rather than contains’ and ‘amplifies rather than dampens’ adverse financial disturbance as capitalizations are recalibrated up or down.