Latest Issue

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…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect