We have recently published a paper proposing to direct government Covid-19 aid into employee ownership. Our proposal was published by the Review of European Economic Policy and is accessible here.
Similar ideas have appeared elsewhere. Felix FitzRoy and David Spencer recently published the paper Economic Policy Response to the Pandemic: From COVID-19 Emergency to Economic Democracy (2020) where they argue that the urgent matter is (1) to address the upcoming crisis and (2) to use the opportunity to change the way economy is structured and make it more sustainable and just. Democratization of economic enterprises is the key here.
“One way forward would be to ensure that, where government grants financial support to firms, it do so with the requirement that the firms adopt meaningful co-determination and profit sharing. A new social contract could be implemented with the government requiring firms that receive support to democratise work. Such a requirement could pave the way for general legislation for economic democracy, a long overdue, fundamental reform recently supported by thousands of scholars in The Guardian (2020), reviewed in detail by FitzRoy and Nolan (2020), and discussed here in the next section below. In contrast, current policy (mostly based on furloughing and business loans) has no provision for reform in the workplace, and assumes a return to traditional governance and distribution structures. Yet, it is only by overturning these structures that we can build a more sustainable and fairer economy.”