This is just an idea, and I am far from an expert in any of the fields, but social equality is a topic I have thought a lot about. One thing which was so positive about Swiss society was the high employment. Social issues linked to long-term unemployment were pretty non-existent, except perhaps when linked to refugees.
How could this be achieved in a less prosperous, and much larger country without all-out state socialism? I am in favour of re-nationalisation of a large range of services, but definitely not complete state-ran retail, manufacture and other things. One way that large companies could be forced to increase employment (and probably reduce executive pay in the meantime) might be to link corporate tax rates to the number of employees. This may be difficult with complex contracts, but I would encourage ONLY directly employed individuals within that company (not subsidiary etc – it could possible encourage simpler accounting).
There a string arguments against any increase of employment – productivity is a measure falsely blamed for drops in economic output, and often cited seriously on current affairs programmes and debates. Productivity would have to be ignored as a serious metric for economic success, and perhaps recognized for what it really is – a measure of how poorly people are being paid, and how closely linked to primary production the industry is (this is a gross over-simplification, but these are two major aspects for similarly industrialised nations). Countries which pay less well, and have more primary energy/agriculture, and even manufacturing vs services will appear much more productive in theory.
The other big argument against the way I suggested an employee-linked tax could be implemented (I can think of off the top of my head!) is that it would reduce the likelihood of contracted work, and may benefit big vertically-integrated companies. This may well be the case, but only if those vertically-integrated companies are genuinely working efficiently, and actually, I think it wouldn’t really be an issue, as it would encourage companies to actually employ someone if they need someone (thereby improving a company’s in-house expertise as well as reducing pay going into pointless profits for the benefit of non-productive owners).
Actually, maybe that last bracketed point is the main one – this would shift the financial balance from the shareholder to the employee, without radical shifts in ownership…
It would only really work on companies of a large size, and so could start at a certain size, thereby incentivizing small innovative companies.
It’s just an idea-mind… should I patent it? (joke)