Lord Adonis summed it up well in a pithy tweet this week: "Shades of a British Enron. Wild overbidding, fast-and-loose & grossly overpaid management, taxpayers taken for a ride, AWOL auditors & pliant/ignorant ministers and officials. This is going to run & run!"
Carillion's demise will go down as one of the biggest corporate governance scandals in the UK for quite a while.
Let's be clear: responsibility first and foremost has to be placed at the hands of the firm's directors.
That doesn't get the government off the hook, though, as there will be some big questions about its role in the mess (more on that later).
Through 2016 and the first part of 2017 Carillion's board was making bullish statements about the firm's future.
It claimed, as recently as March 2017, that the firm had "substantial liquidity" and "£1.5 billion of available funding".
Less than a year later, it had gone bust with just £29 million in the bank. 'WTF?' as Robert Peston might say.
The board screwed up big time on pricing contracts and taking on debt and directors had their heads in the sand on risk management.
In a world of thin margins, big cost over-runs on two major hospital projects (one in Sandwell) and a bypass in Aberdeen combined with big debts and a pension deficit to sink the firm.
Instead of dishing out fat dividends (£83 million in fact) less than a year ago, the board should have instead asked those same shareholders to help shore up the firm through a rights issue.
There would have been directors' blood all over the carpet but a turnaround course might - just might - have been plotted.
Government contracts like HS2 bought the firm some time during 2017 but the board failed to get its act together.
Rather, it ploughed on, chasing low-margin contracts, heightening the risks if projects went belly up.
Board hubris ran high while hedge funds scented blood, shorting the stock.
In the end, the Government had little choice but to let the firm go bust given how badly it had been run by directors.
Bailing them out as well as the firm's banks and bondholders (where were they?) simply wasn't going to happen. But what a mess.
There's bound to be an impact on public spending, as contracts are renegotiated with other providers, despite what the Government claims.
And for how long will much-needed new hospitals like the one in Sandwell be delayed?
While recognising this was first and foremost a massive business failure, quite what the Government was up to during Carillion's end-game is anyone's guess.
Think about it. Last year, Carillion issued a string of profit warnings.
At the same time, the state-owned bank RBS (the bank we did bail out) made provisions to cover potential losses on its loans to Carillion.
Cracks were clearly visible: big projects ran into difficulties, the firm lengthened payment times to suppliers and engaged in more unusual forms of financing, debts mounted and its shares were shorted.
The firm's share price collapsed, down from over 190p back in July to just 14p last week.
But meanwhile government was still awarding contracts to Carillion. Why?
Was it ignorant of Carillion's plight (despite claims it was closely monitoring the firm) or was there a deliberate effort by the Government to prop up an ailing Carillion by awarding it new contracts (a technique otherwise known as 'rearranging the deckchairs')?
The Public Accounts Committee will have some serious questions to ask.
More broadly, the outsourcing firms (or 'outsourcerers' as I sometimes call them) will no doubt claim the Government pays them too little on complex and risky contracts.
Pull the other one.
Carillion didn't have to bid for contracts at such low prices nor did it have to pay out such big dividends or salaries to its bosses (or make it harder to claw back any bonuses).
And maybe some of the outsourcing firms should have found something else to do to balance risks when austerity kicked in.
But, if we're saying austerity has killed the outsourcing party, then maybe it's time to bring more activity back in house and/or for the state to be willing to pay more in return for certain contractual requirements.
That could include open contracts and transparency (take note Birmingham City Council), less of a gig economy for workers, more emphasis on actual delivery and minimum standards of corporate governance.
I'd add to that a proper balance sheet test for bidders to make sure they aren't going to topple over, leaving a question mark over the delivery of public projects and an exposed supply chain.
On that final point, the TUC and FSB are right in calling for a task force approach to make sure that viable elements of the supply chain can be preserved.
Some 30,000 suppliers are exposed to the Carillion meltdown.
Previous task force experience (think MG Rover and LDV) could be used to help them whether the storm. All in all, it's a right old mess.
And one that should prompt a rethink of how government handles outsourcing of big contracts.
Professor David Bailey works at the Aston Business School.