(This might be a bit disjointed because I have not fully fleshed out these ideas for myself. I want to get them up here to promote discussion and get people thinking about this.)
According to the theme, the corporations require a steady supply of workers to keep the economy running. In other words, it is cheap "slave" labor provided by mixers without any other option that keep the corporations working. The labor works in the factories and handles all of the other menial jobs that ultimately result in products for the corporations to sell.
The way the game is currently setup does not reflect that dynamic at all. Or if it does, it is limited and not at all overarching in the way that the theme implies that it is. As a player it feels like there are two completely separate MOOs. Or if not completely separate, at least extremely removed from each other.
What I am going to lay out here is a potential system to more closely integrate the economy so that everyone has more reasons to interact and everyone has the ability to affect the economy.
Corporations produce goods. That should be the foundation of the economy. Every "job" that a player has should be tied into the production of goods. Those "goods" can be measured.
The foundation of the system that I am imagining is the basic "work" system that is already implemented at SHI. We all know how it works, so I won't dive into detail. The important thing is that there is a location where players "work", and there is a system to track the work.
Currently, SHI is the only corporation with a work system. In an ideal system, every corporation that employs players should have a work system. Furthermore, the work locations should be in the Mix / Red sector. Why? Because that is where the labor is for one. Two, it provides the most opportunity for roleplay and player engagement.
Fundamentally, each corporation should have a weekly "work" quota. I have no idea what that quota should be, but the admins can probably figure it out. A simple formula might work along the lines of (# number of players times X unit of work = ## work per week). Just for discussion sake, let's say that each player needs to work for 30 minutes a week, and there are 5 players in the corporation. The corporation needs to generate 150 minutes of work per week.
Even this simple system creates RP opportunities. Who is ultimately responsible for the work getting done? The senior employee (Vice President or whatever)? Each individual employee? The buck has to stop somewhere and the work needs to be done.
Why does the work need to be done?
There are so many ways to incentivize and punish here. An obvious one is weekly pay. If the corporation misses their quota, then everyone's pay gets cut by whatever percentage they missed it by. Or it could be more focused where only the senior player gets penalized. After all, they are the "manager" and are responsible for meeting production goals. An incentive might be that if a corporation hits 200% of their quota for three months in a row, everyone gets a bonus. 10K or whatever. There would need to be an upper limit. Enough to incentivize people to work more, but not so much that the payouts get out of control.
With the basic work system and quotas in place, the potential for corporations to affect each other is created. If the work locations are in the Mix, or to a lesser extent in Gold, corporations (and their contractors) can attack each other. Make it dangerous to go into work. Give those corporate security staff something to do (protect their employees). Make corpies want to work hard to get promoted so that they can work on Gold and not have to risk their lives going to work in the Mix. Make corpies fear getting demoted because by doing so they will have to go back to the Mix. Where do the gangs come down? Do they get hired for security? Do they attack corpies and extract tolls? Do they play both sides?
Work being done, or not, could affect the availability of goods. For example, if Viriisoma employees do not generate enough work quota, players should not be able to buy Viriisoma gear (nanos, etc.) Same goes for Saedor Krupp (cyberware), ZMI (weapons), etc. etc. Create some real reasons to work, and consequences for not working. Just as stores do not get stocked if crates do not get delivered, equipment should not be created by corporations with lazy employees.
Work quota should be able to be banked and "stolen". This mechanic would represent corporate espionage, executive kidnapping, etc. Some of it could be automated by players with the right skill. Maybe a "steal" verb where a decker could deck the system. Or a "kidnap" command for a solo. Maybe "seduce" for charisma based characters to lure employees away. This aspect is complex and probably more of a version 2 or version 3 idea.
Is this worth further discussion and refinement? Is putting corporates to "work" something that would make the MOO better?