Ok, this was a poor title for a blog post, I admit. The main topic of the professor dinner talk I mention below was “Capitalocentrism,” a term coined by the economic geographer(s) J.K. Gibson-Graham. Capitalocentrism means that we understand everything to be capitalism, even if it’s non-capitalist, and this obviously distorts any attempts at envisioning alternatives to capitalism.
I missed most of the discussion on this specific topic, because again, I have the fatal weakness of being a sports fan. In addition, our “lecturer” preferred the role of discussant or interlocutor greatly, so the discussion I did participate in ranged far afield. I hope that the contributors to this blog who participated in the whole discussion can fill in the blanks for me, but I would like to add one thought:
From a political standpoint, I think socialocentrism is almost as important as capitalocentrism. When I say socialocentrism, it is the idea that any alternative to capitalism is deemed socialism and automatically dismissed by the mainstream. How can ideas like cooperatives gain hold when they are associated with a “dirty word?” This socialocentrism is not a new idea, at least I don’t think. However, it cannot be ignored by left economists who would like to present alternatives, as it changes how they can frame their ideas.
Note: thanks to Sean for some comments on my initial post, which had a number of errors resulting from too little sleep. I’m shamelessly scrubbing them in this updated post.