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Don’t blame the havens – tax dodging is everyone else’s fault

Corporation tax is a tax on corporate activity and on shareholders, and it is not well designed to achieve either purpose.

Directors have a duty beyond just enriching shareholders

British law might have said that the duty of directors is simply to promote the interests of the company’s members. But it doesn’t – and that is no accident.

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.

On the brink of a shadow drink industry

Restriction of business on moral grounds is not always unsuccessful but measures have to be applied with great care.

A ballboy, a union and bankers’ duty

If trust and confidence in financial intermediation are to be re-established, principles of loyalty and prudence are a prerequisite.

The limits of what money can buy

Should there be markets for sperm, surrogate motherhood or transplant organs?

Leveson failed to learn from credit crisis

There are many similarities between this response to the press crisis of 2011 and the reactions to the financial crisis of 2008. In both cases the demand for better processes and new rules largely missed the point.

To understand Christmas, go to the pub

Anyone who thinks the quest for scale economies is the primary explanation of the human desire for family life is strangely deficient in observational capacity, as well as common sense.

The allies who moulded the welfare state

Social policy would, in the long run, owe far more to Eleanor Roosevelt’s claim that “everyone has the right to a standard of living” than to Beveridge’s assertion that “management of one’s income is an essential element of a citizen’s freedom”.

Corporate tax should be fair and shared

Ireland accounts for a share of global profit disproportionate to the size of the Irish economy. Not because business in Ireland is particularly successful but because reporting profits in Ireland is particularly attractive.

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