By Kevin Stoda, Germany
You may ask what "co-determination" is. In Germany, it is cooperation between workers and companies at the Board of Director level. This is something that does exist in the USA but has existed for nearly 6 decades in one of the world's perennial best economies. According to EUROFOUND, "The concept of co-determination refers to two distinct levels and forms of employee participation: co-determination at establishment level by the works council and co-determination above establishment level, on the supervisory board of companies, which is the main subject of this entry." At the supervisory level of all large companies in Germany, the employees have a 50% representation on the supervisory board of the firm.
In contrast to Germany, in Sweden it is 1/3 representation for employees. Similarly, medium-sized firms in Germany of between 500 and 2000 employees have only 1/3 representation on their co-determining boards--by law. "The employee representatives are elected either by direct election by the workforce if they so wish, or otherwise indirectly by a secondary body of delegates elected by the workforce. The shareholders' representatives are elected by the appropriate shareholders' meeting or company general meeting." This practice actually was first instituted in the Weimar Republic, but has its roots in many alternative philosophies. "In terms of the history of ideas it [the concept and practice of co-determination] covers a broad spectrum, ranging from catholic social theory via radical democratic to socialist perspectives."
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