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Seems like laws need to be drawn up to make this unprofitable. It should be easy enough to get out of paying people standing around not behaving in a "competent and workmanlike manner." Or even the entire company. If it doesn't happen, why pay?

As you've described, what is going on is corruption due to lack of oversight.

Similar to the coordination problems among different trades, I think there's a lot of interplay between competing interests that make something that seems simple on the surface much more complex.

Take crane operations for instance. An organization may require union crane operators as a means of oversight to help guarantee trained and certified operators for a hazardous operation. However, this often has unintended consequences as union crane operations may also require positions like a crane oiler, which are largely obsolete in modern equipment.

I don't think that constitutes corruption because it's completely transparent and above board, even if unwise.

Corruption is a moral issue that exists besides the law. If the payment occurring produces no net benefit then I see no reason to consider it just.

These problems seem complex and may truly be, but if they lead to payment for nonperformance then that needs to be addressed. I expect the market can figure it out from there.

I don't think I agree on your definition of corruption. Corruption in the legal sense is, by definition, illegal fraudulent activities, generally defined as using a public office for private gain. The fact that an operation is unproductive doesn't necessarily make it corrupt.

Even while I have libertarian leanings, I would be hesitant to "expect the market can figure it out" largely because of asymmetries of information and the tendencies of present bias in making decisions, especially those with a profit incentive.

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