by Max Barry

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"Partners, Not Employees"

Preface

The economic policy of Azalfia revolves around a form of market socialism, widely dubbed "Partners, Not Employees". Widely regarded as helping to bring the relatively large economic growth it has received, this political program by the ruling coalition has allowed for a strong economy, reasonable worker rights, and a relatively successful society based around the ideas of worker equity, autonomous cooperatives, and job stability nationwide. It has garnered support widely from so called Democratic Socialist and Market Socialist for it's incorporation of markets, but general elimination of private ownership within the business world.

What Does It Even Mean?

"Partners, Not Employees" means literally a economy based mostly around worker co-ops, run by Majority Cooperatives. While some external shareholders may have a holding vote in the decisions on a company, firms must be majority owned by the workers within a company. While allowing for some private interest to make it's way into the markets, it ensures industrial and workplace democracy. Small businesses are generally exempt from this; in the agricultural industry, private smallholdings, brought along by the breaking up of major monopolies and land redistribution brought to workers, allows for private enterprise and small enterprises to generally thrive. Strict laws on monopolizations also consistently break up these major groups into co-ops, small holdings, and other forms of workplace governance.

Results

Results are mixed, but generally seem to be positive. Workplace democracy has made clear for a wave of generally resilient businesses and has made it clear that workers generally aren't in support of outsourcing there own jobs, leading to a stable job existence for millions. A society run on co-ops and industrial democracy has made it clear that, despite the real issues of the political system, at least within the workplace, democracy can thrive. The allowance of private small holdings and enterprise, especially within agricultural circles and service areas, allows for a bit of private enterprise to back up the economy.

Issues have arisen though. There are several major opponents to these worker co-ops, arguing that they are holding back private business and economic growth, trusting in the free market. There is also anger at how worker co-ops occasionally degenerate due to internal strife, leaving outside investors to effectively make up the decisions, and in form, creating a privately run company. Despite all these major issues though, it seems it has at least secured a future for industrial democracy.

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