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Rail privatisation has delivered improvements through accountability and autonomy

Both the leading candidates for the leadership of Britain’s opposition Labour party have now committed themselves to renationalising the country’s railways. But the state-owned British Rail was one if the most reviled institutions in the UK, and privatisation has delivered many relative benefits.

Solutions to the Greek debt crisis should be found through pragmatism not blame

The Greek crisis is not simply the result of Athens’ inept public administration but also of an extensive carry trade on eurozone convergence by northern European banks, notably in France and Germany, which obtained short-term profits by matching northern eurozone liabilities with southern eurozone assets. For every foolish borrower there is usually a foolish lender.

HS2 is yet another politically-driven project in search of a rationale

Projects acquire political momentum of their own. The original rationale is forgotten, if indeed it ever existed. And so it has been with HS2, the project to build a high-speed rail link from London to Birmingham and then to the north of England.

Rule of the vigilante is not the way to handle business misconduct

There are good reasons for state action in areas of business misconduct. But announcing ad hoc measures against companies in the news is the wrong way.

‘Trust me, I am a financial adviser’ is not good enough

Concepts of fiduciary obligation have been watered down in the modern financial services sector. It is time to reverse that.

How a proud corporate history can lead to poor governance

The failures of the Coop provide insights into common management problems in not for profit institutions – including Oxford University.

The welfare cap replaces political judgment with spin

Whatever initial misconceptions spin doctors may promote, reality will out.

Coastal dwellers should take their own chances

When the sea defies mankind’s efforts to keep it in place, the shore people want these costs, too, to fall on the public at large.

They may not find a Jobs – but Pisa tests lean in the right direction

To say comparisons of academic performance are always imperfect and open to revision is not to say they cannot be made at all.

Is it better to play it safe or to place bets that risk bankruptcy?

Although transactions with low probability of large loss and high probability of small gain carry the potential for disaster, they can appear attractive for a very long time – perhaps for ever.