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Virtual MOBTS 2020

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How to talk about capitalism

capitalism, democracy, education

In the United States capitalism is not widely understood or discussed. Like many socially powerful concepts, “capitalism” is a black box, centrally located in everyday life and national norms and practices but not readily named or openly referred to. Beyond very cursory explanations, its principles and circuits are not taught - including in business schools and talk about it is largely absent from classrooms or communities. The session proposed here demonstrates an original, simplified framework (developed over ten years of teaching business ethics) that allows students to see the circuits of capitalism in their lives and fosters face-to-face conversations about how it works, in and outside the classroom. The framework helps students to understand the economic system more clearly and to become more thoughtful about issues facing business and society. Business school educators are encouraged to use the framework as a jumping off point for “talking capitalism”.

Sarah Stookey
Central CT State University
United States


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