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Do not criminalise traders just for being in the know

Obtaining better information about companies is essential to the efficiency of markets and society: obtaining it fractionally earlier is of no public value 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.

The design flaws that lead to financial explosions

Nuclear power and financial systems both have the capacity to blow up the world. Perhaps there are lessons from one for the other.

To secure stability, treat finance and fast food alike

If I had a million pounds for every time I have heard a possible reform opposed because “it wouldn’t have prevented Northern Rock or Lehman Brothers going bust”, I might now have enough money to bail out a bank.

Why I ignore Apple’s silly reams of terms and conditions

My decision not to read the terms of agreement when purchasing a new television is not the result of my stupidity and ignorance, but my wisdom.

The world must learn to deal with the reality of failure

Having invented the concept of GSifi to describe too-big-to-fail banks, the world’s financial regulators are on the hunt for other businesses which can be treated in a similar way.

The market is not the best place to set a fair price for assets

What happened at Enron, and in the banks, was that trading assets were marked to values that had been established not by people who knew about the contracts or the loans, but by the biased and ill-informed assessments of the traders.

Britain is leading the world on banking reform

Globally, the Bank of England has been the main source of fresh and sceptical thinking on the future of the financial sector. While this has won it few friends in the City of London, such unpopularity is a mark of success not failure.

Prosecutors must uphold the law, not cut deals with the accused

The financial crisis left a few individuals responsible for it very rich while its consequences made millions not responsible for it much poorer. If this involves no crime, then we have failed to define or prosecute crime appropriately.

Bungled bailout heralds shift in attitudes

The belief that the right response to the failures of Basel I and II is a more elaborate version of the same global regime is a triumph of hope over experience.