• Foucault, Gary Becker and the Critique of Neoliberalism

    Author(s):
    David Newheiser (see profile)
    Date:
    2016
    Subject(s):
    Biopolitics, Continental philosophy, Economic history, Neoliberalism, Political philosophy
    Item Type:
    Article
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M67V66
    Abstract:
    Although Foucault’s 1979 lectures on The Birth of Biopolitics promised to treat the theme of biopolitics, the course deals at length with neoliberalism while mentioning biopolitics hardly at all. Some scholars account for this elision by claiming that Foucault sympathized with neoliberalism; I argue on the contrary that Foucault develops a penetrating critique of the neoliberal claim to preserve individual liberty. I show that the Chicago economist Gary Becker exemplifies what Foucault describes elsewhere as biopolitics: a form of power applied to the behaviour of a population through the normalizing use of statistics. Although Becker’s preference for indirect intervention might seem to preserve the independence of individuals, under biopolitics individual liberty is itself the means by which populations are governed indirectly. In my view, by describing the history and ambivalence of neoliberal biopolitics, Foucault fosters a critical vigilance that is the precondition for creative political resistance.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
    Share this:

    Downloads

    Item Name:pdf foucault_gary_becker_and_the_critique_of.pdf
     Download View in browser
    Activity: Downloads: 695