Two major accounting rulemakers say mark-to-market accounting may have its flaws but is a lot better than allowing banks and other financial institutions to conceal changes in their asset values. "It's a lousy system, but it's less lousy than any other system we've had so far," said Tom Jones, vice chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board. Critics of mark-to-market accounting have said the accounting rules forced billions of dollars worth of write-downs at banks, creating a downward spiral with each write-down provoking further write-downs and freezing up the markets.

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