Foucault's Views On Human Capital

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Foucault's views on human capital

Summarize a Foucault's views on human capital

Foucault's views on human capital

Labor is a factor in production, but at the same time it is passive in itself and only finds employment and activity thanks to a rate of investment. Foucault widens the critique and asserts that it could also be applied to Marxian theory. Neo-liberals, on the other hand, want to study labor as an economic conduct that operates, is rationalized and calculated by those who work.

This is the theory of “human capital”, elaborated between the 1960s and 1970s, and Foucault uses it to illustrate this passage and deepening of the logic of government. From the standpoint of the worker, wages are not the sale price of his labor power but his income. Of its capital, that is to say a human capital that cannot be separated from its bearer, a capital that is one and the same as the worker. From the standpoint of the worker, the problem is the growth, accumulation and amelioration of his/her human capital.


Foucault resorts to the theory of human capital and to the conceptual shift this theory had on the concept of “homo economics or economic man. In so doing, he argues that with neo-liberalism we would be “facing a reconfiguration of the state and society, based on the market's paramount principle, which is competition and not exchange, as in the origins of political economics. Foucault uses the theory of human capital and the concept of neo- liberalism as distinct terms. Indeed, to this philosopher, the conceptual shift of homo economics undertaken by the theory of human capital played a pivotal role in the invention of neo- liberalism, which Foucault considered a radically new sort of capitalism. Foucault emphasizes that posing the very problem of improving human ...
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