Funnily enough, it seems like there is something is in the air. A week or so back the latest Fabian Review came out, and it came with the latest of their great series of pamphlets. It is by Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson, better known as the authors of The Spirit Level and titled A Convenient Truth. As the title suggests, the pamphlet talks about the threat from climate change and, as you might expect, the negative effects of inequality are an important part of the story. What you might be surprised by is what they focus on as reform proposals. The core idea is the democratisation of business (industrial democracy if you like) and the proposals that flow from it include the extension of employee ownership and employee representation in corporate governance.
Actually they did talk about this in The Spirit Level too, but it's part of the book that has seemed (to me anyway) overlooked to to date. Not any more though, here the extension of employee ownership and voice at work are the main event, and this advanced as a way to tackle inequality. This, of course, slots in well with the idea of focusing on predistribution, or as they put it:
Our response should be to build effective democratic constraints permanently into the economic system. We need to develop policies to extend democracy into the economic sphere in ways which are consistent with, but modify the effects of, the market.
My one big gripe about this discussion in general is the absence of a role for unions in the mix too (though the Fabian pamphlet does highlight the correlation between inequality and declining union power). Again, if you want to try and tackle inequality without having to get the state to do all the heavy lifting then encouraging stronger unions is the most obvious way to achieve this. This would also help underpin the other reforms from within the workforce.
Nonetheless, interesting and encouraging stuff.