In ancient times, the ultimate collateral was the debtor’s personal freedom. A person who defaulted on a debt became an indentured servant of the lender in the case of default. This idea persisted in one form or another until the 1800s when debtors prisons became out of favor. The US was one country that led the way on this movement. The US has always had a much easier attitude to bankruptcy. There has always been much less stigma attached to bankruptcy along with the easier legal climate.
So the system works this way – people and businesses can go bankrupt easily and put their excess losses onto their counterparties. And in reaction to this, counterparties must be careful who they do business with.
That means that Credit Risk Management is a fundamental aspect of the business environment.
However, when you recognize the underlying fundamental reason for that statement, you may question whether the new statistical based Credit Risk Management that has developed over the past 25 years actually satisfies the fundamental need of the system.
More discussion of this idea at http://wp.me/pevO4-O6