14 February 1979

  • Michel Senellart
  • François Ewald
  • Alessandro Fontana
Part of the Michel Foucault book series (MFL)


TODAY I WOULD LIKE to continue with what I began to say about German neo-liberalism. When you talk about contemporary neoliberalism, whether German or any other kind, you generally get three types of response.


Social Policy Market Economy Economic Process Governmental Action Monopoly Price 
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  1. 1.
    On the reception of American neo-liberal ideas in France at the end of the seventies, see in addition to the work by H. Lepage already referred to (Demain le capitalisme), the collective work edited by J.-J. Rosa and F. Aftalion, L’Économique retrouvée. Vieilles critiques et nouvelles analyses (Paris: Economica, 1977). The appearance of the former gave rise to a number of articles in the press, among which see those of J.-F. Revel, “Le Roi est habillé,” L’Express, 27 February 1978; G. Suffert, “Économistes: la nouvelle vague,” Le Point, 13 March 1978; R. Priouret, “Vive la jungle!” Le Nouvel Observateur, 11 April 1978 (which refers to the negative tax, among the social correctives remaining within the framework of the market, and refers to L. Stoléru: on both, see above, lecture of 7 March 1979); B. Cazes, “La désenchantement du monde se poursuit&,” La Quinzaine littéraire, 16 May 1978; P. Drouin, “Feux croisés sur l’État,” Le Monde, 13 May 1978, etcetera. Several of these present the spread of these ideas in France as a response to the book by J. Attali and M. Guillaume, L’Anti-économique (Paris: PUF, 1972), which echoed American New Left theses (see H. Lepage, Demain le capitalisme, pp. 9–12). See also the interview: “Que veulent les nouveaux économistes? L’Express va plus loin avec J.-J. Rosa,” L’Express, 5 June 1978.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    In addition to the books and articles cited in the following notes, Foucault had read on the subject the anthology of H.J. Silverman, ed., American Radical Thought: The libertarian tradition (Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath and Co., 1970) and H.L. Miller, “On the Chicago School of Economics,” Journal of Political Economy, vol. 70 (1), February 1962, pp. 64–69.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Henry Calvert Simons (1889–1946), author of Economic Policy for a Free Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    It is actually a book: A Positive Program for Laissez-Faire: Some proposals for a liberal economic policy? (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1934); republished in Economic Policy for a Free Society.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    H.C. Simons, “The Beveridge Progam: an unsympathetic interpretation,” Journal of Political Economy, vol. 53 (3), September 1945, pp. 212–233; republished in Economic Policy for a Free Society, ch. 13.Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    The coalition of Left parties that exercised power in France from June 1936 until April 1938. Under the presidency of Léon Blum, this government passed several measures of social reform (the 40 hour week, paid vacations, nationalization of the railways, and so on).Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    Foucault is alluding to the events that unleashed the War of Independence (1775–1783), notably the “Boston Tea Party” (16 December 1773), in the course of which some colonists, disguised as Indians, dumped in the sea a cargo of tea belonging to the East India Company to whom the English Parliament had just opened the doors of the American market. The English government responded with a series of laws—“intolerable acts”—which led to the 1st continental Congress at Philadelphia in September 1774.Google Scholar
  8. 12.
    See H. Lepage, Demain le capitalisme, pp. 21–28; 326–372 (on G. Becker). Some chapters from this book appeared in 1977 in the columns of Realités. For the chapter on Becker, the author refers in addition to the lectures of Jean-Jacques Rosa, “Théorie micro-économique,” IEP, 1977. See also M. Riboud and F. Hernandez Iglesias, “La théorie du capital humain: un retour aux classiques,” in J.-J. Rosa and F. Aftalion, eds., L’Économique retrouvée, pp. 226–249; M. Riboud, Accumulation du capital humain (Paris: Economica, 1978). These two works were in Foucault’s library.Google Scholar
  9. 13.
    See Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976), Book I, ch. 1–3. On Smith’s analysis of labor, see Les Mots et les Choses, pp. 233–238; The Order of Things, pp. 221–226.Google Scholar
  10. 14.
    David Ricardo (1772–1823), The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (London: Dent, Everyman’s Library, 1973) ch. 1, section 2. See M. Riboud and F. Hernandez Iglesias, “La théorie du capital humain” p. 227: “[In the analysis of the classical economists], the increase of the labor factor necessarily expressed an additional number of ”workers or of hours of work per man, that is to say a quantitative increase.” See also the comments of J. Mincer, in his foreword to the thesis of M. Riboud, Accumulation du capital humain, p. iii: “The simplifying hypothesis of the homogeneity of the labor factor, made by Ricardo, created a void whose consequence was to leave the study of the structure of “wages and employment to supporters of the ‘institutionalist’ approach (the study of the types of relations existing between workers and the management of enterprises), to the analysts of economic fluctuations, and to statisticians (descriptive statistics).”Google Scholar
  11. 16.
    See M. Riboud and F. Hernandez Iglesias, “La théorie du capital humain” p. 231: “As for the analysis of Keynes, it is even further from the idea of investment in human capital than the Classics. For him, the labor factor is basically a passive factor of production if a sufficiently high rate of investment in physical capital exists” (this latter phrase is underlined in Foucault’s copy of the book; see above, this lecture, note 12).Google Scholar
  12. 17.
    Theodore W. Schultz (1902–1998): professor of economics at the University of Chicago from 1946 to 1974. Nobel Prize for economics in 1979. His article, “The emerging economic scene and its relation to High School Education,” in F.S. Chase and H.A. Anderson, eds., The High School in a New Era (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958) opened up the field of research on human capital. See M. Beaud and G. Dostaler, La Pensée économique depuis Keynes (Paris: Le Seuil, 1996), pp. 387–390. See Theodore W. Schultz, translation by J. Challali, Il n’est de richesse que d’hommes. Investissement humain et qualité de la population (Paris: Bonnel, 1983).Google Scholar
  13. 18.
    T.W. Schultz, “Capital formation by education,” Journal of Political Economy, vol. 68, 1960, pp. 571–583; “Investment in human capital,” American Economic Review, vol. 51, March 1961, pp. 1–17 (reprinted in the book with the same title cited below in this note); “Reflections on investment in man,” Journal of Political Economy, vol 70 (5_), 2nd part, October 1962, pp. 1–8; Investment in Human Capital: The role of education and research (New York: The Free Press, 1971).Google Scholar
  14. 22.
    J. Mincer, Schooling, Experience and Earnings (New York: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1974); see also “Investment in human capital and personal income distribution,” Journal of Political Economy, vol. 66, August 1958, pp. 281–302, that Theodore Schultz describes as a “pioneering paper” in his Investment in Human Capital, p. 46, note 33. The expression “human capital” appears for the first time in this article (see M. Beaud and G. Dostaler, La Pensée économique, p. 184).Google Scholar
  15. 23.
    See G. Becker, The Economic Approach to Human Behavior (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1976), p. 4: he rejects “the definition of economics in terms of material goods” in favor of a definition “in terms of scarce means and competing ends.”Google Scholar
  16. 24.
    Lionel C. Robbins (Lord, 1898–1984): English economist, professor at the London School of Economics, and author notably of a work on the methodology of economic science, Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science (1st edition 1932, republished, London: Macmillan, 1962). Hostile to the positions of Keynes at the time of the crisis of the thirties, he changed his position after his experience as advisor to the British government during the war.Google Scholar
  17. 26.
    Irving Fisher (1867–1947), a mathematician by training, professor at Yale University from 1898 until the end of his career. In particular, he is the author of The Nature of Capital and Income (New York and London: Macmillan, 1906). See Joseph A. Schumpeter, History of Economic Analysis, pp. 872–873.Google Scholar
  18. 27.
    The formulae are drawn from the article already cited by M. Riboud and F. Hernandez Iglesias, “La théorie du capital humain” p. 228: “Capital should be understood here in accordance with the conception of the market developed by Irving Fisher: we will call capital every source of future income and, reciprocally, income (all categories of income) is the product or return of the capital (of different forms of capital).” See, Joseph A. Schumpeter, History of Economic Analysis, pp. 898–899, and K. Pribram, A History of Economic Reasoning, p. 329: “According to Fisher, capital was the whole of things owned by individuals or societies at some particular moment in time, constituting claims or purchasing power and being capable of yielding interest.”Google Scholar
  19. 28.
    The word “machine” seems to be Foucault’s, an allusion or wink to L’Anti-Œdipe of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari (Paris: Minuit, 1972); English translation by Robert Hurley, Mark Seem, and Helen R. Lane, Anti-Oedipus. Capitalism and Schizophrenia (New York: The Viking Press, 1977). On the machine/flows couple, see for example, pp. 43–44; pp. 38–39 of this book. Neither Becker nor Schultz use the term with regard to ability. The latter, however, proposes to integrate “the innate abilities of man” in “an all-inclusive concept of technology” in Investment in Human Capital, p. 11.Google Scholar
  20. 29.
    “Earnings stream” or “income stream.” See for example, T.W. Schultz, Investment in Human Capital, p. 75: Not all investment in human capital is for future earnings alone. Some of it is for future well-being in forms that are not captured in the earnings stream of the individual in “whom the investments are made.”Google Scholar
  21. 31.
    See G. Becker, “On the new Theory of Consumer Behavior,” Swedish Journal of Economics, vol. 75, 1973, pp. 375–395, reprinted in The Economic Approach, pp. 130–149. See H. Lepage, Demain le capitalisme, ch. VIII: “La nouvelle théorie du consommateur (Les révolutions de G. Becker).”Google Scholar
  22. 32.
    G. Becker, The Economic Approach, p. 134: “( & ) this approach views as the primary objects of consumer choice various entities, called commodities, from ”which utility is directly obtained. These commodities are produced by the consumer unit itself through the productive activity of combining purchased market goods and services with some of the household’s own time. In his article, “A Theory of the Allocation of Time” Economic Journal, 75, no. 299, September 1965, pp. 493–517 (republished in The Economic Approach, pp. 90–114) Becker sets out for the first time this analysis of the production functions of consumption activities (see M. Riboud and F. Hernandez Iglesias, “La théorie du capital humain” pp. 241–242). See H. Lepage, Demain le capitalisme, p. 327: In this perspective, the consumer is not only a being who consumes; he is an economic agent “who ‘produces.’ Who produces what? Who produces satisfactions of which he is the consumer.”Google Scholar
  23. 33.
    See T.W. Schultz, Investment in Human Capital, p. 148: “The distinctive mark of human capital is that it is a part of man. It is human because it is embodied in man, and capital because it is a source of future satisfactions, or of future earnings, or of both” (a phrase which is taken up again on p. 161 with regard to education as a form of human capital).Google Scholar
  24. 34.
    See M. Riboud and F. Hernandez Iglesias, “La théorie du capital humain” p. 235: “If, as the theory of human capital lays down as its hypothesis, an individual’s productivity depends in part on the capabilities he has inherited at birth and in part (more importantly) on the capabilities he has acquired through investments, then his level of income at each period of his life will vary directly with the rising stock of human capital he has at his disposal at that moment.”Google Scholar
  25. 35.
    On these questions, see the 6th part of Becker’s The Economic Approach, pp. 169–250: “Marriage, fertility and the family”; T.W. Schultz, “New economic approach to fertility,” Journal of Political Economy, vol. 81 (2) part II, March-April 1973; A. Leibowitz, “Home investments in children,” Journal of Political Economy, vol. 82 (2), part II, March-April 1974. See M. Riboud and F. Hernandez Iglesias, “La théorie du capital humain” pp. 240–241 (on the choice between “quantity” and “quality” of children according to the human capital that parents wish to pass on to them); H. Lepage, Demain le capitalisme, p. 344 (“La théorie économique de la démographie”).Google Scholar
  26. 40.
    See Rosa Luxembourg (1971–1919), Die Akkumulation des Kapitals. Ein Beitrag zur ökonomis-chen Erklärung des Imperialismus (Berlin: B. Singer, 1913); French translation by M. Ollivier, L’Accumulation du capital. Contribution à l’explication économique de l’impérialisme (Paris: Librairie du travail, 1935), new translation by I. Petit (Paris: F. Maspero, 1967) 2 vols.; English translation by Agnes Schwarzschild, The Accumulation of Capital (London: Routledge, 2003).Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michel Senellart
  • François Ewald
  • Alessandro Fontana

There are no affiliations available

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