Workers may be dismissed for reasons of redundancy because of a reduction in the amount of work of an enterprise, or as the result of the introduction of computers and automated equipment which eliminate certain jobs. In deciding which workers are to be retained, preference is usually given to workers of higher qualification and labour productivity, though redundancy usually strikes at those with less time in the job, who are often immigrants and young people.
It often happens that, at the very top of organizations, apparently crucial positions can go unfilled for long periods of time without there being any noticeable effect—even, on the organization itself. In recent years, Belgium has gone through a series of constitutional crises that have left it temporarily without a sitting government: no prime minister and no one in charge of health, transportation, or education. These crises have been known to continue for considerable periods of time—the record so far is 541 days—without there being any observable negative impact on health, transportation, or education. One has to imagine that if the situation were to endure for decades, it would make some sort of difference; but it’s not clear how much of one or whether the positive effects would outweigh the negative ones.