Knowing what numbers mean
Basic accounting was considered essential knowledge for all citizens during the Italian Renaissance.
And, starting in the 1500’s, “Every level of Dutch society practiced double-entry accounting — from prostitutes to scholars, merchants and even the Stadholder, Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange.”
But how much do Americans even understand about finance? Few of us can do basic accounting and fewer still know what a balance sheet is. If we are going to get to the point where we can have a serious debate about financial accountability, we first need to learn some essentials.
The writer argues the value of basic financial understanding for every citizen. If the citizens of Costa Mesa were as financially educated as the citizens of the Netherlands, it might make sense to advocate for having appointments to the Financial Advisory Committee be proportionate by gender. However, it still wouldn’t make sense to appoint members who don’t “know what a balance sheet is,” or worse, didn’t understand how to read a check register.