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If we want companies like Carillion to do better, we need to make their directors properly accountable

Business failures are an inevitable feature of a capitalist economy, but those caused by boardroom greed are not. It's time to take action

By James Mather  

When the South Sea Company collapsed in 1720, Parliament responded by seizing the entire wealth of its directors, then publicly debating how much they should be allowed back to live on. The most crooked of the lot was granted nothing at all; his partner in crime was handed a mere £1,000 from a fortune of over £183,000.

Nowadays, directors presiding over high-profile insolvencies—of which Carillion is just the latest example—have less to fear.

Ten years after the global financial crisis, the one-way bet for senior executives that skewed risk-taking in banks…

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