Employment in Japan

I’ve been on vacation this past week in Japan, which continues to be an exceptionally nice place to visit. One of the many things that strikes me as unusual is the number of older people, mostly men, doing certain kinds of work - things like waving a flag to direct traffic around construction, which led me to a quick look at the Japanese labor market. 

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Remidiableness

One of the other ideas from Transaction Cost Economics I liked was the remidiableness criterion, due to Williamson. The core question in TCE is why do firms staff certain work internally while sourcing other work from the market?

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Team Inertia

Some of my thoughts from the post yesterday were around the value of flexibility in resource allocation that training gives an organization: if you can teach people practical skills rapidly you can more easily flex to respond to new needs. 

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Scarcity tax

A number of my conversations yesterday turned around the idea of taking action towards a larger goal while being overwhelmed with day-to-day work. This kind of “everything is on fire” operating is demoralizing - the team only achieves a proportion of the work they know needs to be done, and they will rarely do the surprising work which wins plaudits. 

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