There's one aspect of the collapse of City Link that deserves more attention than it gets - that it undermines the conventional idea that firms' owners are risk-takers.
Better Capital's stake in the firm took the firm of a secured loan, which means they'll get first dibs on its residual value. Thanks to this, Jon Moulton, Better Capital's manager claims to stand to lose only £2m - which is a tiny fraction of his £170m wealth.
By contrast, many of City Link's drivers had to supply capital to the firm in the form of paying for uniforms and van livery, and are unsecured creditors who might not get back what they are owed. Many thus face a bigger loss as a share of their wealth than Mr Moulton. In this sense, it is workers rather than capitalists who are risk-takers.
This point is not, of course, specific to City Link. Most decent-sized businesses represent only a small fraction of a diversified portfolio for their capitalist owners, whereas suppliers of human capital usually have to put all their eggs into the basket of one firm; only a small minority of us have "portfolio careers" . All that stuff they teach you about the benefits of diversification applies in the real world to capital, not labour.
There are two implications of all this.
First, it means that the idea that capitalists are brave entrepreneurs who deserve big rewards for taking risk is just rubbish. As Olivier Fournout has shown, the idea of managers as heroes is an ideological construct which serves to legitimate power and rent-seeking.
Secondly, it suggests that ownership might in some cases lie in the wrong hands. Common sense tells us that those who have most skin in the game should have the biggest say simply because they have the biggest incentive to ensure that the firm succeeds. As Oliver Hart - who's hardly a raving lefty - says: "a party with an important investment or important human capital should have ownership rights." This is yet another case for worker ownership.
All this poses the question: are there policy measures, other than worker ownership, which could ensure a more equitable bearing of risk?
One answer would be policies to achieve serious full employment. Full employment would allow workers to reject job offers which expose them to excessive risk, and it would mitigate human capital risk by ensuring that those who lose their jobs - and the collapse of firms is an inevitable part of capitalism - can quickly find new work.
Secondly, we need a more redistributive welfare state. The welfare state is not a scheme whereby "we" pay for "scroungers". It is instead an insurance mechanism. It is a means of pooling human capital risk; we pay premiums (tax) in good times and receive compensation in bad times when such risks (illness or redundancy) materializes. The fact that many workers suffer a massive drop in income when they lose their jobs suggests the welfare state isn't providing enough insurance.
Of course, all these ways of improving risk-bearing fall outside the Overton window.