I come not to bury CDS markets, but to praise them

Felix Salmon defends the CDS market:

Dizard says there are only "three possible defences for treating the CDS market as a going concern"; in fact, there are more than that, and he misses out the big one, which is that the CDS market has allowed investors, for the first time ever, to hedge their credit exposure. Yes, there's a downside to that -- which is that it becomes easier to simply buy credit protection than to do the hard work of fundamental credit analysis. But CDS by their nature are more liquid than bonds, and it will always be easier to buy credit protection than to sell a bond.

What's more, CDS prices are a much better indication of credit risk than bond spreads are, for many reasons including the tax treatment of bond coupons and the fact that many bonds simply don't trade. In other words, not only are they more liquid, they're also more transparent. These are good things.