A symbol for ‘nothing’ doesn’t seem to mean very much, but the biography of the number ‘zero’ shows what a dangerous idea it has been since its very first creation. The Sumerians of ancient Babylon invented it about 5,000 years ago, the Greeks banned it, the Hindus worshiped it, and the Church branded it as demonic figure that implied the negation of God.
Rehabilitation started in northern Italy in the 13th century. Zero became the most important tool in mathematics. It enabled the merchants of Venice to create modern finance: they invented the double-entry bookkeeping system. In her book ‘Double Entry’ author Jane Gleeson-White states that double-entry bookkeeping is ‘one of the greatest advances in the history of business and commerce’. She argues that ‘the process of recording profit and loss was nothing short of revolutionary: it fuelled the Renaissance, enabled capitalism to flourish, and created the global economy.’
Jacob Soll, the author of ‘The Reckoning’, states that basic accounting tools not only form the basis of modern capitalism but also of ‘the nation-state’. Our present is the outcome of this innovative system of accounting… CONTINUE