Neoliberalism as a management of psychic suffering



Read an excerpt from the recently released book organized by Vladimir Safatle, Nelson da Silva Júnior & Christian Dunker

 “A paradise inhabited by murderers without malice and victims without hatred” (Günther Anders).

“It wasn't depression, it was capitalism” (Pixação in Chile, made on the occasion of the 2019 revolt).

The year was 2015, in the midst of the Greek economic crisis. Tension was ongoing between Greek government negotiators, seeking to demonstrate the irrationality of the economic policies implemented in Greece after the 2008 crisis, and representatives of the so-called troika, made up of the main holders of Greek debt. Faced with the desire of the Greeks to follow a heterodox path, the then president of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, had no doubts: she went to the press to demand an end to the “childish behavior” of her opponents and to say that she hoped to resume dialogue “with adults in the room”.

The following day, the then vice-president of the European Commission, Viviane Reding, sang the same song, saying that the time had come for us to have adults, not “rude children”. That is, to disagree was not to enter into a clash over different macroeconomic views, but to act like children who would not know the “responsibility” of emancipation, with its “obligations”. The struggle was simply between maturity and psychological minority.[I] Therefore, the clash was not a debate at all, the voice of the Greeks was just the pathological expression of irrationality.

Perhaps not many people were surprised by the use of a vocabulary between the psychological and the moral in the midst of that eminently political and economic discussion. After all, the world was gradually getting used to it. For years, policies to combat the economic crisis were sold as “austerity” policies. However, until further notice, no one had heard of any elaborated “austerity economic theory”, not least because “austerity” was not exactly a technical term in economic theory,[ii] but a term coming directly from moral philosophy. The increasingly extensive use of the term appears only with neoliberal hegemony, even if the policies of controlling state expenditures found their bases in John Locke, Adam Smith and David Hume.

But the naming of such policies as “austerity” was a fact to be underlined. Because it explained how moral values ​​were mobilized to justify the rationality of social and economic intervention processes. It should be noted that being against austerity is, initially, a moral fault, a disrespect for the work of third parties, in addition to a childish inability to retain and save. To criticize austerity is thus to place oneself outside the possibility of being recognized as an autonomous and responsible moral subject. Likewise, it was moral to argue that individuals should stop looking for "protection" in the paternal arms of the welfare state in order to assume "responsibility" for their own lives, thus learning to deal with the adult world in a " risk society” (although it was never really clear whether risks were for everyone after all).

But there are some questions that we ended up not asking until now. For what were terms coming from moral philosophy doing in the midst of economic debates? How did they get there? Are they mere metaphors, more or less free uses aimed at “dramatizing” the problem? But if we accept that no metaphor is “mere”, that its uses indicate conscious decisions to place distinct systems of reference in deep relationship, how should we understand such a phenomenon?

For it was a fact that we were witnessing an increasingly extensive tendency to use psychological and moral terms to talk about economic processes. As if a certain moral psychology were colonizing the multiple spheres of social life through economic discourse. Of course, the phenomenon wasn't exactly new. When Stuart Mill stated, at the end of the 1973th century, that political economy was “'the science dealing with the production and distribution of wealth insofar as they depend on the laws of human nature' or again 'the science relating to moral laws or of the production and distribution of wealth” (Mill, 303, p. 1973), the reference to moral or psychological laws was vague enough to refer simply to the rationality of an alleged “desire for wealth” inscribed in the heart of human passions. Political economy would thus analyze socially coordinated dynamics in order to realize the human desire for enrichment, or rather to obtain: “the greatest sum of necessary things, conveniences and luxuries with the least amount of work and physical abnegation required to be able to obtain it”. them in the existing state of knowledge” (Mill, 304, p. XNUMX).

However, Stuart Mill was still careful to state that such a principle of rationality was a “premise” that could have no basis in facts, although it could have effects in the concrete dimension, with “appropriate concessions”. This meant, among other things, that reducing the structure of human motivation to the desire for wealth was a useful abstraction rather than a general explanation of human behavior, with its multitude of unique variables and unforeseen effects.

But what we currently see is something of another order, namely, the justification of economic actions and the paralysis of criticism through the massive mobilization of psychological and moral discourses. Which can lead us to questions about the effective epistemological nature of the economic discourse, this at a time when it arrogates to itself complete operational autonomy in relation to the political sphere, as it happened before when the economy finally gained autonomy in relation to the sacred.[iii] Because we can ask ourselves how much this autonomy of economic discourse in relation to politics is itself the clearest expression of a violent political decision.

In this sense, we must meditate on the meaning of this unexpected relationship between the autonomy of the economy in relation to the political and its transmutation into moral psychology. As if one process were only possible through the other. The autonomy of the economy, its position as a discourse of unlimited power in the definition of social management guidelines, goes hand in hand with the increasingly clear legitimation of its injunctions as a moral psychology, that is, as a discourse in which moral injunctions and assumptions about development and maturation.

Which leads us to state that the empire of economics supports the transformation of the social field into a field indexed by something that we could call “moral economy”, with greater consequences not exactly for the modes of production and circulation of wealth, but for the violent elimination of the political sphere as an effective space for deliberation and decision, with the reduction of criticism to the condition of pathology. An elimination that, as I would like to show, has major consequences for the modes of psychic subjection and social suffering.

The thesis to be defended here is that the repeated use of such a strategy grows with the hegemony of neoliberalism. The fact that the texts of the Society Mont Pélerin don't let us forget. Let us remember, for example, how the text that presented the objectives of this society, the first group formed in the 1940s to spread neoliberal ideals, began: “The core values ​​of civilization are in danger… The group argues that such development has been driven by growth of a view of history that denies all absolute moral standards and theories that question the desirability of the rule of law” (apoud Mirowski; Plehwe, 2009, p. 25).

From which followed the exhortation to explain the alleged current crisis from its “moral and economic origins”. This double articulation is extremely significant. The refusal of the primacy of private property and competitiveness would not only be an economic mistake, but mainly a moral fault. Its defense should not only be based on its alleged economic effectiveness in the face of the imperatives of wealth production.

It should take place through the moral exhortation of the values ​​imbued in free enterprise, in “independence” from the State and in the alleged individual self-determination. “Thus, what makes the economy possible and necessary is a perpetual and fundamental situation of scarcity: in the face of a nature that, by itself, is inert and, save for a tiny, sterile part, man risks his life. It is no longer in the games of representation that the economy finds its principle, but it is on the side of this dangerous region in which life confronts death [...] homo economist it is not this which represents its own needs and the objects capable of satisfying them. He is the one who passes by, and uses, and loses his life trying to escape the imminence of death” (Foucault, 1966, p. 269).

This fundamental situation of scarcity is not, however, an “evident fact”, an inescapable natural reality. It is a relative derivation, as it depends on where the horizon line that defines abundance is located.[iv] Hence why Foucault needs to articulate it to the moral phantasmagoria of finitude and the imminence of death. For the transformation of scarcity into an evident fact can only be produced through the absorption, by the economic discourse, of the disciplinary force of the belief in the vulnerability of life, in its constitutive fragility. Belief that is a fundamental part of a certain morality and a circulation of affections based on fear and capable of motivating action towards compulsive work and savings.

It is also worth noting that this very specific psychologization of the economic field, with a view to eliminating the possibility of political contestation regarding its “rationality”, has, in turn, a kind of reverse effect. This effect is visible in the contemporary resizing of the political field. One of the most relevant contemporary facts is the complete redescription of the motivational logic of political action in a grammar of emotions. It is increasingly evident how political struggles tend to no longer be described in eminently political terms, such as justice, equity, exploitation, dispossession, but in emotional terms, such as hatred, frustration, fear, resentment, anger, envy, hope. .[v]

And in a movement that seems to complement this logic, we are quickly reaching the moment when new waves of politicians seem to be specialized in mobilizing sectors of the population as if they were dealing with eminently psychological subjects. Thus, his speeches are made to be read not as political confrontations about life in society, but as “offenses”, as “disrespect”; its promises are permeated by exhortations to “care”, to “support”.

As we know, speech constitutes its listeners. A discourse constructed as “offensive” aims to produce a subject who will react as “offended”. Offensive speech is cunning. It seeks, initially, to break a kind of generic solidarity in the face of an injustice done not only against one, but against all or, rather, against all through one. Offensive speech aims to break the emergence of the reaction of “all”, because it singles out, it offends one, it mocks one. We don't say: “You offended Brazilian society in me”. Rather, we say, "You have offended me." The problem looks like something between "you" and "she/it". The problem no longer seems political, but one of respect for psychological integrity.

It is a fact that in the political sphere we know multiple strategies of psychologization of its field since the most remote times. One of the oldest is the reduction of political relationships to the expression of family relationships. Overlapping of authority with paternal and maternal figures, overlapping of relations between equals with fraternal figures, which aim to make social demands modeled on expectations of love and recognition proper to the family nucleus. This overlap between social body and family structure has a clear function.

Everything happens as if the family were the model of “harmonious relationships” that would have the power to eliminate the often apparently insurmountable character of social conflicts. Familiarism in politics presupposes the social fantasy of the family as the core of naturalized, non-problematic hierarchical relationships, of authority based on love and devotion. Nucleus in which the social places of authority and submission are natural places. Something very far from the Freudian explanation of the family as a nucleus that produces neuroses.

Let us remember that the economy still retains its familial trait. It retains its original logic of oikos that appears periodically, mainly when it is believed that the government should do the same as a housewife when money is lacking.[vi] This overlapping of complex social economic relations with the elementary logic of the “house” does not only aim at the ideological production of illusions of naturalness of the modes of circulation and production of wealth. It aims at the phantasmatic overlap between the social body and the body of the father, mother and siblings. This overlapping should produce docility in relation to authority, the perpetuation of a feeling of dependence and, above all, the naturalization of gender subjection.[vii] Ultimately, it must produce an “identification with the aggressor”.[viii]

The total neoliberal state

But if it is a fact that neoliberal hegemony requires the explanation of the economy as a moral psychology, it is necessary to better understand the reasons for such a process and its consequences. In this sense, let's look back at the year 1938 for a moment. In the year before the outbreak of the Second World War, several economists, sociologists, journalists and even philosophers gathered to discuss what appeared at the time as the sunset of liberalism. The meeting went down in history as Colóquio Walter Lippmann, named after an influential American journalist who had written one of the most discussed books of the time, the good society, and one of those responsible for organizing the event.[ix] In his book, Lippmann insisted that the world saw the demise of liberalism due to the rise of communism, on the one hand, and fascism, on the other. Even capitalism would be under the hegemony of Keynesian interventionism. Then one had to wonder why this was happening and what to do to reverse the situation.

A diagnosis that was imposed at the colloquium was the mistaken belief, typical of nineteenth-century Manchester liberalism, that free enterprise, entrepreneurship and competitiveness would be characteristics that would spring up almost spontaneously in individuals, if we were capable of radically limiting economic intervention and social status. Rather, liberal freedom would have to be produced and defended. As Margaret Thatcher would say decades later: “Economics is the method. The goal is to change the heart and soul.”[X] And that change of hearts and minds would have to be done through massive doses of intervention and re-education.[xi] This was until the moment when individuals began to see themselves as “entrepreneurs of themselves”, this was until the moment when they internalized economic rationality as the only possible form of rationality.

Thus, the idea that the advent of neoliberalism would support a society with less State intervention, an idea that is so prevalent today, is simply false. Relative to classical liberalism, neoliberalism represented much more state intervention. The real question was: where did the state actually intervene? In fact, it was no longer a question of intervention in the sphere of coordination of economic activity.

For neoliberals, even Keynesian regulation was as unbearable as any form of socialist state, although it is worth remembering that the level of economic regulation accepted by German ordoliberalism and its “social market economy” is higher than that preached, for example, by the Austrian School, which will set the tone for North American neoliberalism. In fact, what neoliberalism preached were direct interventions in the configuration of social conflicts and in the psychic structure of individuals. More than an economic model, neoliberalism was social engineering.

That is, neoliberalism is a mode of profound social intervention in the dimensions that produce conflict. For, for freedom as entrepreneurship and free enterprise to reign, the State should intervene to depoliticize society, the only way to prevent politics from intervening in the economy's necessary autonomy of action. It should mainly block a specific type of conflict, namely, the one that calls into question the regulation grammar of social life.[xii]

This meant, concretely, withdrawing all pressure from instances, associations, institutions and unions that aimed to question such a notion of freedom from the awareness of the founding nature of the class struggle. But deepening this process required a complete destitution of the grammar of conflict and objective contradiction. That is, it was about moving from the social to the psychic and leading subjects to no longer see themselves as carriers and mobilizers of structural conflicts, but as performance operators, optimizers of non-problematic markers.[xiii]

For that to happen, it would be necessary for the very notion of conflict to disappear from the horizon of constitution of the psychic structure, for a subjectivity proper to a sportsman concerned with performances to become generalized, and for that the mobilization of processes of disciplinary internalization of moral presuppositions was fundamental. For this reason, neoliberal intervention modalities should take place on two levels, namely, the social level and the psychological level. This articulation is explained by the fact that psychic conflicts can be understood as expressions of contradictions within the processes of socialization and individuation. They are the hallmarks of contradictions inherent in social life.[xiv]

Thus, at a first level, the neoliberal State acted directly to deregulate associative life and its pressure on the sharing of goods and wealth. This point was made explicit in Grégoire Chamayou's research on the links between neoliberalism and fascism.[xv] For example, it may seem strange to some that one of the fathers of neoliberalism, the economist Frederick Hayek, is an explicit defender of the thesis of the need for a provisional dictatorship as a condition for the realization of neoliberal freedom.

Let us remember a significant excerpt from an interview given to the Chilean newspaper The Mercury, in 1981: “I would say that, as a long-term institution, I am totally against dictatorships. But a dictatorship may be a necessary system during a transitional period. Sometimes it is necessary for a country to have a dictatorial form of power for a while. As you know, it is possible for a dictator to rule liberally. And it is possible for a democracy to govern with a total lack of liberalism. Personally, I prefer a liberal dictator to a democratic government without liberalism”.

“Sometimes” appears here as an indication of an always imminent possibility of use, as long as society does not passively conform to neoliberal economic injunctions. In this sense, let us note how 1981 was the year in which Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship was at its peak. Hayek was excited about Chile's transformation into the world's laboratory for the ideas that he, Milton Friedman, Gary Becker, Ludwig von Mises, and others were passionate about.

In an impressive documentary about the neoliberal experience in Chile, Chicago Boys (2015), we see the formation of the group of economists who implemented neoliberalism in our continent for the first time. At one point, when interviewers ask Pinochet's future Economy Minister, Mr. Sergio de Souza, on what he felt when he saw the Palacio La Moneda being bombed by military planes until the death of then president Salvador Allende, he says: “an immense joy. I knew this was what had to be done.” That is, this is an explicit image of the way in which the freedom of the market could only be implemented by silencing all those who do not believe in it, all those who contest its results and its logic. For this, it would be necessary a strong State and without limits in its fury to silence society in the most violent way. Which explains why neoliberalism is actually the triumph of the state, not its reduction to a minimum.

The use of the notion of provisional dictatorship will not be a detour. Hayek had already made clear his fear of an unrestricted democracy, which led to his diatribes against an alleged “totalitarian democracy” or a “plebiscitary dictatorship” (Hayek, 1982, p. 4) that would not respect the tradition of the rule of law. (rule of law). respect for such rule of law, in which we would find the enunciation of the liberal foundations of economics and politics, would be the best remedy against the temptation to succumb to a bargaining process through which the State would be transformed into the mere emulation of multiple interests of society, into the mere coalition of interests organized.

A fact that would prevent the State from defending freedom (which, in this case, is nothing more than the economic freedom to undertake and own private property) against the multiple interests of corporations in social life, thus submitting the majority to the interest of organized minorities . Against this form of submission of my interests to the interests of others, it would be necessary for everyone to submit to rational rules and to the impersonal forces of the market, as if it were a matter of assuming an experience of self-transcendence, a Law produced by humans and which transcends them.[xvi]

However, submitting to the alleged rationality of economic laws requires a radical depoliticization of society, a violent rejection of its questions regarding the autonomy of economic discourse itself in relation to political interests. That is, such submission requires assuming the economy as the very figure of a sovereign power, provided with a properly sovereign violence. At this point, we can find the expression of the authoritarian political nature of the neoliberal economy, and here the same model of social management that we can find in Nazi theorists such as Carl Schmitt is outlined.[xvii]

In this regard, let us remember how it is possible to find the genesis of the notion of depoliticization of society, so necessary for the implementation of neoliberalism, in the fascist notion of the “total State”. A notion that, as Marcuse already understood in the 1930s, had never been opposed to liberalism. Rather, it was its necessary unfolding within a horizon of monopoly capitalism. Understanding how the liberal foundation of the reduction of freedom to the freedom of the individual economic subject to dispose of private property with the legal-state guarantee that it requires remained the basis of the social structure of fascism, Marcuse warned of the fact that the “total State” fascist be compatible with the liberal idea of ​​liberating economic activity and strong intervention in the political spheres of the class struggle.

Hence why: “The economic foundations of this path from liberal theory to totalitarian theory will be assumed as assumptions: they rest essentially on the change of capitalist society from mercantile and industrial capitalism, built on the free competition of autonomous individual entrepreneurs, to modern monopoly capitalism, in that the modified relations of production (especially the large “units” of cartels, trusts, etc.) require a strong State, mobilizing all means of power” (Marcuse, 1997, p. 61).

This articulation between liberalism and fascism was thematized by Carl Schmitt, since Schmitt derived the notion that parliamentary democracy, with its negotiation systems, tended to create a “total state”.[xviii] Having to deal with the multiple demands coming from various organized social sectors, parliamentary democracy would eventually allow the State to intervene in all spaces of life, regulating all dimensions of social conflict, transforming itself into a mere emulation of the antagonisms present in social life. .

Against this, it would not be necessary to have less State, but to think of another form of total State: a “qualitative” total State, as Schmitt would say. In this case, a State capable of depoliticizing society, having enough strength to intervene politically in the class struggle, eliminate the forces of sedition in order to allow the liberation of the economy from its alleged social obstacles.[xx] Schmitt does not want a planning state, but a state capable of guaranteeing authoritarian intervention in the political field in order to release the economy in its autonomous activity. This notion was extremely present in the German debate of the late 1920s and early 1930s and hence Hayek's political perspective.[xx]

This model differs from Friedrich Pollock's "state capitalism", in that it is not a question of direct regulation of economic activity aimed at replacing the primacy of the economy with that of administration, but of direct regulation in the political field in order to to free economic action from constraints. However, he approaches Pollock's model in understanding that the axis of social management processes will be based on the search to eliminate social contradictions through the management of the economic field. This same model will be able to operate in both liberal democracy and authoritarian regimes.

If we can complete, this indifference comes from the fact that the two poles are less far away than one would like to imagine. In fact, both in one case and in the other, the foundations of liberal rationalization, with its notion of economic agents that maximize individual interests, remained as the structure of social life and modes of subjectivation, justifying all forms of violent intervention against contrary trends.

drawing people

But this would never work if there were not another dimension of social intervention processes. Dimension in which we can find a profound work of psychological design, that is, of internalization of psychological predispositions aiming at the production of a type of relationship with oneself, with others and with the world guided through the generalization of business principles of performance, investment, profitability, positioning, for all walks of life.[xxx] In this way, the company could be born in the hearts and minds of individuals.

A psychological design that could only be achieved through the generalized repetition of moral exhortations that led us to understand all resistance to such corporate redescription of life as a moral lack, as a refusal to be an “adult in the room”, to assume the virtue of courage in the face of the risk of undertaking and opening new paths on their own. Something that resonates with Weber's analysis of the business ideal as an expression of the Puritan orientation of conduct as a mission. For no other reason, the story is constantly told of entrepreneurs who “breakthrough” territories infected by lethargy and stagnation, courageously imposing a taste for risk and innovation, as if they were imbued with a destiny of moral redemption for society.[xxiii]

This business ideal of the self was the necessary psychic result of the neoliberal strategy of building a “formalization of society based on the business model” (Foucault, 2010, p. 222), which allowed the commercial logic, among other things, to be used as an economic court against public power. For it is fundamental to neoliberalism “the extension and dissemination of market values ​​to social policy and all institutions” (Brown, 2007, p. 50). As we know, the generalization of the company form within the social body opened the doors for individuals to understand themselves as “entrepreneurs of themselves” who define the rationality of their actions based on the logic of investments and return on “capital”[xxiii] and who understand their affections as objects of work on themselves with a view to producing “emotional intelligence”[xxv] and optimizing their affective skills. It also allowed for the “corporate rationalization of desire” (Dardot; Laval, 2010, p. 440), a normative foundation for the internalization of surveillance and control work based on constant self-assessment based on criteria derived from the world of business administration. companies. This total retranslation of the general dimensions of inter and intrasubjective relations into a rationality of economic analysis based on the “rational calculation” of costs and benefits opened a new interface between government and the individual, creating much more psychically rooted modes of governance.

We should also note that this internalization of an entrepreneurial ideal of itself was only possible because the capitalist company itself had gradually modified its disciplinary structures from the end of the 1920s onwards. The brutality of the Taylorist model of managing times and movements, as well as the the Weberian bureaucratic model, had gradually given way to a “humanist” model since the acceptance of the pioneering works of Elton Mayo, founded on the psychological resources of a motivational engineering in which “cooperation”, “communication” and “recognition” were transformed into devices of productivity optimization.[xxiv]

This “humanization” of the capitalist company, responsible for creating an intermediate zone between management techniques and therapeutic intervention regimes, with a vocabulary between administration and psychology, allowed for an affective mobilization within the world of work that led to the “fusion transition from market repertoires to the languages ​​of the self” (Illouz, 2011, p. 154). Work relationships were “psychologized” to be better managed, to the point where the clinical techniques of therapeutic intervention began to obey, in an increasingly evident way, the standards of evaluation and management of conflicts coming from the universe of business administration.

The steps, focus, management of “human capital”, “emotional intelligence”, optimization of performance that had been created in the human resources room of large companies were now part of couches and offices. Not everyone realized it, but we weren't just talking about ourselves as entrepreneurs. We were transforming this form of social organization into foundations for a new definition of psychological normality. In this sense, everything that was contradictory in relation to such an order could only be the expression of some form of pathology. Pathologizing the critique was simply one more step.

Note also how this topic of generalization of the company-form is, at the same time, the description of the hegemonic forms of violence within social life. For the company is not just the figure of a form of economic rationality. It is the expression of a form of violence. Business competition is not a game of cricket, but a relationship process based on the absence of solidarity (seen as an obstacle to the functioning of the selective capacity of progress), on the cynicism of competition that is not competition at all (because it is based on the continuous flexibility of norms, in the uses of all forms of bribery, corruption and cartel), in the colonial exploitation of the disadvantaged, in the environmental destruction and in the final monopoly objective. This violence demands a political justification, it needs to be consolidated in a social life in which every figure of generic solidarity is destroyed, in which the fear of the other as a potential invader is elevated to a central affection, in which colonial exploitation is the rule.[xxv]

*Vladimir Safari He is a professor of philosophy at USP. Author, among other books, of Ways of transforming worlds – Lacan, politics and emancipation (Authentic).


Vladimir Safatle, Nelson da Silva Júnior & Christian Dunker (eds.). Neoliberalism as a management of psychic suffering. Belo Horizonte, Autêntica, 2020, 286 pages.


[I] See, in this regard, Varoufakis (1997).

[ii] “There is no well-elaborated 'austerity theory' in economic thought that starts from some fundamental propositions that become more systematized and rigorous over time, as we see, for example, with the theory of trade. We have, in fact, what David Colander calls a 'sensitivity' regarding the State, inherent in liberalism from its inception, which produces 'austerity' as the standard answer to the question: what do we do when the market fails?” (BLYTH, 2013, p. 152).

[iii] See Dupuy (2014).

[iv] On this issue, let us remember what Marx already said about the distinction between relative and absolute poverty: “The Samoyed, with its cod liver oil and rancid fish, is not poor because in its closed society everyone has the same needs. But in an advancing State, which in the course of a decade or so increases its total production relative to society by a third, the worker who before or after these ten years earns the same amount, is not as well off as before, but has become a poorer third” (MARX, 2007, p. 31). This explains, for Marx, why the more the worker produces, the less he has to consume. Relative poverty implies a gradual decrease in what I manage to consume in relation to the renewed demands of my interest system.

[v] See, for example, Fassin; Rechtman (2011); Illouz (2011).

[vi] Margaret Thatcher, speech 29 February 1949. Available at: . Accessed on: 11 Nov. 2020.

[vii] In a larger study, Melinda Cooper explores the paradox that a discourse of individual autonomy, such as neoliberalism, is so supportive of the resurrection of the family as an unquestioned social cell. For the family does not exactly appear as the counterpoint to the interventionist rage of the State. It is the perpetuation of a relationship of dependency, of phantasmatic subjection and of the naturalization of order. See Cooper (2017).

[viii] On the decisive role of this concept in the formation of the neoliberal personality, see Gandesha (2018).

[ix] For a discussion of the colloquium, see Audier; Reinhoudt (2018).

[X] Available in: . Accessed on: 3 Nov. 11.

[xi] As Rüstow will say: “the coincidence of the individual selfish interest with the general interest that liberalism discovers and proclaims with enthusiasm as the mystery of the market economy applies only within a free competition of services and, as a result, only to the extent in which the State, charged with policing the market, observes that economic actors carefully respect these limits. But the State of the liberal era lacked the knowledge and strength necessary to perform such a task” (AUDIER; REINHOUDT, 2018, p. 160).

[xii] In this regard, let us remember a precise statement by Theodor Adorno, who quickly understood the merely managerial nature of certain theories of social conflict: “Current theories of social conflict, which can no longer deny its reality, affect only what is articulated and objectified in roles and institutions, short of the perennial violence that is hidden behind the reproduction of society. Implicitly, the social control of conflicts is already considered, which should be 'regulated', 'interfered', 'directed' and 'channeled'“ (ADORNO, 1972, p. 81). This presupposes the forced acceptance of a common grammar: “The participants should have recognized the meaning and inevitability of the conflicts and previously agreed with the conciliation rules of the game – a condition that operationally eliminates the critical case of the conflicts breaking the effective rules of the game. game” (ADORNO, 1972, p. 81). But we are not talking about the rules of a “consensually” accepted game. We are talking about the sedimentation of relations of power and strength.

[xiii] In a movement clearly described in Ehrenberg (2000).

[xiv] On this, see Safatle; Silva Junior; Dunker (2018).

[xv] See Chamayou (2019).

[xvi] “It is easy to see why Hayek can claim that such submission to abstract rules and forces beyond us, even when we engender them, is the condition of justice and social peace. It's just that she shuts up the source of resentment, envy, destructive passions. This person from whom the market has taken his job, his business or even his livelihood knows well, according to Hayek, that no intention wanted this. He was not subjected to any humiliation” (DUPUY, 2014, p. 37).

[xvii] “The weakness of government in an omnipotent democracy was clearly seen by the extraordinary German student of politics Carl Schmitt, who in the 1920s understood probably better than anyone else the character of the developed form of government and subsequently fell into what, to me, appears to be the side morally and intellectually wrong” (HAYEK, 1982, p. 194).

[xviii] See Schmitt (1933).

[xx] “This Qualitative Total State is a Strong State, total in the sense of quality and energy ('total im Sinne der Qualität und der Energie'), as well as authoritarian in the political domain, to be able to decide on the distinction between friend and enemy, and guarantor of individual freedom in the economic sphere” (BERCOVICI, 2003, p. 35).

[xx] See, for example, the distinction between total state and authoritarian state in Ziegler (1932). Here, the authoritarian State appears as a “neutral”, depoliticized State, capable of imposing itself despite the multiple interests of classes and corporations.

[xxx] This is the central topic of Foucault's research on The naissance of biopolitics (2010) and which will be resumed by Dardot and Laval (2010).

[xxiii] See Weber (2004)

[xxiii] Fundamental for this was the consolidation of the use of the notion of “human capital”, as we can find in Becker (1994).

[xxv] See Goleman (1996).

[xxiv] This allowed a sociologist like Eva Illouz to remember that “the economic sphere, far from being devoid of feelings, has been, on the contrary, saturated with affection, a type of affection committed to the imperative of cooperation and to a way of resolving conflicts. conflicts based on 'recognition' as well as commanded by them” (ILLOUZ, 2011, p. 37).

[xxv] Thanks to Fabian Freyenhagen and Timo Jutten for working together on a research internship at the University of Essex (July 2019), which allowed me to write this text.

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