AFTER years of fat profits and bonuses, cost-cutting is once again at the top of the corporate agenda. For companies wanting to chop out middle-management dead wood or sack factory workers, costs can vary enormously across the world. America, New Zealand and Tonga are among the most company-friendly countries, requiring no penalties or compensation to fire a full-time employee of 20 years. By contrast, a business in Zimbabwe must shell out well over eight years’ worth of pay to sack a worker. But companies in Venezuela and Bolivia are even more tiedâ€”workers there cannot be fired at all.