The Accounting Historians Journal Vol. 11, No. 2 Fall 1984
Robert Bloom CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY and
Hans Heymann INDIANA UNIVERSITY NORTHWEST
THE IDEAS OF STUART CHASE ON WASTE AND INEFFICIENCY
Abstract: This paper discusses Stuart Chase and his thoughts on social account-ing and the economics of waste and inefficiency. An evolutionary socialist, econo-mist, and CPA, Chase saw waste as the major socioeconomic problem of our time, and argued that industry, the government, and the public could do much to over-come this problem. He suggested an optimal balance between laissez-faire and governmental regulation as a remedy for the inefficiencies of our economic system.
A Biographical Sketch
Born in 1888, Stuart Chase was educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. His father, Harvey S. Chase, was instrumental in establishing the American Institute of Accountants and creating the first Uniform CPA Examination. Stuart Chase studied economics and became a CPA. He joined the Federal Trade Commission in 1917, where he investigated the meat packing industry. He was assigned to determine the cost of meat processing, but discovered that meat packers used such a variety of accounting methods that he could not adequately per-form this assignment.1 In 1922, Chase helped organize the Labor Bureau, Inc., a nonprofit organization providing economic advice to unions and cooperatives, which examined the commercial work-ing environment and promoted the utilization of efficient operating methods. As an accountant for the Labor Bureau, Chase "[helped] unions achieve higher wages for their employees and [helped] cooperatives manage their fiscal affairs."2
The author of many nontechnical books on socioeconomic prob-lems. Chase was influenced by the writings of Henry George, Karl Marx, and Thorstein Veblen. A recurring theme linking a number of his books is the impact of technology on society. Other themes