Northern Rock

Andrew Hill

When it comes to companies, the less murk, the better.

In the new edition of London Review of Books, author and journalist John Lanchester points out that three recent corporate “outrages” – the sale of UK lender Northern Rock to Virgin Money, the collapse of MF Global, and the Olympus scandal – share “a crucial similarity”:

An interested outside party, paying the closest of attention, and immersing herself in all the publicly available information, would have had no chance of knowing what was really going on.

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Andrew Hill

Riots in Hackney, August 2011 (Getty Images)

Direct attacks on people, property and businesses are far more terrifying than market turmoil. But there is one striking parallel between the riots disfiguring British cities and the financial crisis that began exactly four years ago: both have shaken the foundations of public confidence in established institutions – the police in the case of the riots, the banks in the case of the credit crunch. Read more