Steve Suggests 26-9-18

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The Birth of Biopolitics

Edited by Michel Senellart

General Editors: Fransois Ewald and Alessandro Fontana



Chapter eleven 28 March 1979 page 267

Concerning: The model of homo economicus. Its generalztion to every form of behavior in American neo-liberalism. Economic analysis and behavioral techniques. Homo economicus as the basic element of the new governmental reason appeared in the eighteenth century. Elements for a history of the notion of homo economicus before Walras and Pareto. The subject of interest in English empircist philosophy (Hume). The heterogeneity of the subject of interest and the legal subject: (1) The irreducible nature of interest in comparison with juridical will. (2) The contrasting logics of the market and the contract. Second innovation with regard to the juridical model: the economic subject's relationship ·with political power. Condorcet. Adam Smith's "invisible hand": invisibility of the link between the individual's pursuit of profit and the growth of collective wealth. The non-totalizable nature of the economic world. The sovereign's necessary ignorance. Political economy as critique of governmental reason: rejection of the possibility of an economic sovereign in its two, mercantilist and physiocratic, forms. Political economy as a science lateral to the art of government.

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