Three poems on organisation, control and exchange

Gavin C. Reid (School of Economics and Finance, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, UK)

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal

ISSN: 0951-3574

Publication date: 1 December 2005



To express and illustrate in verse ubiquitous problems of organizational, auditing and trading malfunctions, thereby stimulating the imagination to contemplate alternative approaches.


Poetic expression of the following design: I. “Putting out work”. Three nine‐line stanzas of syllabic verse, mythic in tone, otherwise of irregular, free form. Expression approaches prose poetry. II. “The happiest days of your life”. Three seven‐line stanzas of free verse, mythic in tone. III. “The exchange”. Twelve six‐line stanzas in free verse; a narrative prose poem.


I. Asks whether the discredited putting‐out system is not lurking yet in modern “home‐working”, but with more subtle drawbacks, and even closer control. II. Finds that pressures to permit labour abuses are persistent, even in alleged “advanced” economies – its incidence and its form are just more surreptitious. III. Develops an alternative metaphor for North‐South economic relations, and suggests exploring an ethics of “gift exchange”, in contrast with the so‐called “anonymity of the market”.

Research limitations/implications

The limitation of verse in this context is that it is a stimulus to the imagination, but not a vehicle for empirical investigation as such. However, what verse does here is to suggest three areas for research that are novel and challenging, but may otherwise be neglected without this stimulus.


I. Finds an emerging “new putting‐out system” II. Shows how the motivation for child labour is persistent, even in “advanced” economies. III. Points to an alternative approach to exchange, as a mutual process of gifting.



Reid, G. (2005), "Three poems on organisation, control and exchange", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 18 No. 6, pp. 885-888.

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