Conservatism Principle: Definition Example Explanation

The conservatism principle provides guidance to accountants on how to records and recognizes the uncertainty outcome of revenues, expenses, assets, and liabilities in financial statements. Conservatism, political doctrine that emphasizes the value of traditional institutions and practices. Accounting conventions are the guidelines that are used to help the companies to determine to record certain business transactions which have not yet been fully addressed by the accounting standards. Accounting procedures and principles are not legally binding but they are generally accepted by the accounting bodies.

  • Despite the nomenclature issue these are important and developing strands in conservative thought, and they play a critical role in the current debate about conservatism.
  • The conservatism principle is also known as the conservatism concept or the prudence concept.
  • This chapter illustrates an admissible understanding of politics traces into the conservative prudence, in which the necessity and the lawfulness can be conciliated without applying one at the cost of neglecting the other.
  • It is sceptical
    about proposals of reform based on a priori commitment to a
    value such as freedom or equality.

That said, “potential” revenue and anticipated profits cannot yet be recognized – instead, only the verifiable revenue and profits can be recorded (i.e. there is a reasonable certainty in delivery). In particular, for any revenue or expense to be recognized on the financial statements, there must be clear evidence of occurrence with a measurable monetary amount. Estimations such as uncollectable account receivables (AR) and casualty losses also use this principle. If a company expects to win a litigation claim, it cannot report the gain until it meets all revenue recognition principles. It also means there is more scope for positive surprises, rather than disappointing upsets, which are big drivers of share prices.

Progressive conservatism

Cultural conservatives hold fast to traditional ways of thinking even in the face of monumental change, strongly believing in traditional values and traditional politics. Hence conservatism’s structuring concept of tradition, and its
deference to historical, non-state institutions, Burke’s
“little platoons” in civil society, including family,
community and church. Scruton called his The Meaning of
Conservatism “a somewhat Hegelian defence of Tory values in
the face of their betrayal by the free marketeers”.

  • Traditional religion, when liberal toleration becomes a militant and superstitious secularism.
  • In this work, Burke lamented the moral idealism and violence that fuelled the revolution, calling it a misguided attempt at social progress.
  • James Madison, one of the authors of The Federalist papers
    (1788), is claimed as an early American conservative; others are
    Alexander Hamilton, John Adams and John Calhoun.
  • Conservativism believes that humans are by nature driven by their passions and desires, and prone to selfishness, unruliness, and violence.
  • While “morality” is subjective self-determination,
    Sittlichkeit or “ethical life” is both an
    attitude of individuals and a collective way of life, a set of values
    and practices or institutions.

Second, Neill follows Freeden in presenting hierarchy as a subordinate element of conservatism rather than a core concept. It is possible to believe in an extra-human source of order and value while rejecting hierarchy. Appeals to God or nature were recurring features of egalitarian movements at least through the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and early 1960s. What is distinctive about conservatism is that such extra-human, immutable standards are understood to justify unequal distributions of power, wealth, and status. That conception of ideology does not have the connotations of abstraction or falsity that lead some conservatives to reject the term. Perhaps, to half-quote Lord Brougham, “what is valuable is not new” and in the case of the ideas animating discussions about conservatism at the moment, there are historical foundations for them and they are therefore not all that new.

What is the Purpose and Objective of the Conservatism Principle?

For Burkean conservatives,
“reason” operates only relative to or within a prior
“non-rational stabilisation of belief” in habit or
prejudice—a stabilisation necessary to avoid scepticism in the
traditional philosophical sense. For Hume and Burke this is a
customary framework; for religious thinkers such as Cardinal Newman it
is fideistic, appealing to the extra-rational authority of religious
doctrine. Prejudice is normative; the inability to subsume particular
actions under a universal law does not imply radical relativism
(Vannatta 2014). For the classical liberal, in contrast, reason
precisely does not operate within customary frameworks. For many conservatives, traditional values and established institutions are gifts passed on by God.

American exceptionalism

Under GAAP accounting standards, the conservatism principle – also called the “prudence concept” – must be applied when preparing the financial statements of companies. Conservatism often attributes criminal behaviour to human imperfection rather than citing societal factors as the cause of criminality. Again, for conservatism, the best way to mitigate these negative aspects of human nature is through strong deterrents and law and order.

Other characteristics of conservatism

Scruton advocates architecture as a vernacular, public art form on an
urban scale, in the manner of treatises on urban decorum from the
Renaissance onwards, which subordinate the style of the individual
building to the whole. Unlike models that achieve this subordination
by conscious planning, Scruton envisages a process akin to the
self-ordering of an ideal competitive market. He applies Adam
Smith’s metaphor of the invisible hand to the emergence of urban
order, rejecting the utopian, social revolutionary visions of Gropius,
Le Corbusier and other modernists. These writers sharply separate
architecture and “mere” building in a way opposed to
Scruton’s vernacularism. A district of London such
as North Kensington, where planning was at best rudimentary, and which
has few “public spaces” in the planner’s sense, is
“eminently public”, Scruton argues (1994). In this sense, everyone is conservative to some degree—for
instance, if they prefer to have cash in their pocket rather than
converting to cashless payment.

Traditionalist conservatism

Conservatism also has a pessimistic view of human intelligence and humans’ ability to fully grasp the world around them. As a result, conservatism bases its ideas on tried and tested traditions that have been passed down and inherited over time. For conservatism, precedent and history provide the certainty they need, while unproven abstract ideas and theories are rejected.

Austrian conservatism originated with Prince Klemens von Metternich (1773–1859), who was the architect behind the monarchist and imperialist Conservative Order that was enacted at the Congress of Vienna in the aftermath of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. The goal was to establish a European balance of power that could guarantee peace and suppress republican and nationalist movements.[129] During its existence, the Austrian Empire was the third most populous monarchy in Europe after the Russian Empire and the United Kingdom. When the conservative party was beaten by the opposition party in the general election, it changed its form again to follow the party members’ demand for reforms. It became the New Korea Party, but it changed again one year later since the President Kim Young-sam was blamed by the citizen for the International Monetary Fund.[clarification needed] It changed its name to Grand National Party (GNP). Since the late Kim Dae-jung assumed the presidency in 1998, GNP had been the opposition party until Lee Myung-bak won the presidential election of 2007.

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