The UK is one of the developed world’s most unequal societies – how do we address that absolute inequality into the next decade? One means is the classical way via the taxation system (a redistribution from rich to poor) and the other is to aim to create more equal economic outcomes from our companies. One way to do so is to incentivise employee ownership of companies that, as Robert Oakeshott, researcher on employee ownership, argues “entails a movement from business as a piece of property to business as a working community”.
Cooperatives such as John Lewis show that employee ownership can work. Employee ownership implies social emancipation as workers are members of a team, and puts the scale of earning differentials at the control of the workers – a good check on excessive executive pay.