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Bernard M -- Taipei English Tutor

Bernard M - English Conversation / TOEFL / IELTS 一對一英文會話

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A QUOTE on Bookkeeping and Negative Numbers

Quoted FROM Dawn to Decadence, by Jacques Barzun (p. 206-7)
"Double-entry bookkeeping is quasi scientific in two ways: it supplies a test of accuracy and it rests on equations: at the bottom line (now a famous metaphor) the figures must match to the las penny. Further, in the body of the account, the line items are abstractions from common-sense reality. . . . Trade also contributed to mathematics the idea of negative numbers, essential to algebra. The minus quantity appears to have arisen when bales of goods for shipment varied a little in weight. To be fair to buyer and seller alike, they would be marked in chalk plus or minus the standard weight."

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