Queer utopia for a feminist economics
In a first part, the article discusses the building blocks of mainstream economic theory as fantastic imaginations - both concerning economic agents and also family models: conomic man in neoclassical economic theory is envisioned as a free, egoistic, autonomous identity, a separate self who is thought to grow like a mushroom fully formed from the earth. Family
relationships are thought of as a complete merging of husband, wife and children ignoring different chances and outcomes for the different parties. Those concepts of the individual and the family are then juxtaposed with the visions for human interactions as proposed by feminist utopias and which have been incorporated into feminist economics: On a micro level, these visions include not only a remodeling of gender identities and gender relations, but also the reorganization of work and the care relationships within households. On a macro level it is stressed that an economic system based on self-interest and the subsuming of others enables a potentially lethal capitalist, patriarchal, colonialist economics which is highly dangerous as it cannot respond to values it does not recognize, such as unpaid housework or inputs of nature.
The COVID-19 crisis is in this piece interpreted as part of a dystopia of deadly inequality reaching the global North. Aside from possible doom, in the second part of the paper this crisis is also discussed as an opening for epistemological change: Options for a utopian journey for feminist economics are described that involve queer, Indigenous, and posthuman theories as travel companions. It is discussed how an evolved feminist economics can - with the inputs of those disciplines - overcome the realm of androcentric and anthropocentric economics and bring forth economic policies allowing not only more justice for queer people, colonized and Indigenous populations, poor women*, care givers, workers in global factories but also preventing the destruction of the environment and the planet per se. Queer theory and its notion of playful futurity points out how relationships and families do not have to be heteronormative, but that there can be fluidity, and that there must be a responsibility for a greater community and certainly no national boundaries. From Indigenous thinking, feminist economics can learn to decenter its dependence on paradigms of Western modernity, a different sense of time, long-term sustenance and respectful, reciprocal and responsible relationships with land and nature. From posthuman theories we can learn to question anthropocentrism based on presumable facts of biology and other natural sciences. A next step following these thought experiments would be the strict recreation of harmful institutions such as systematic individualism, racialization, gender-roles, families/households, nations, money, chrono-normative time and competitive markets to utilize the current crisis for imagining feminist economic alternatives to the prevailing economic order.