Mitchell Dean, Michel Foucault’s ‘apology’ for neoliberalism. Lecture delivered at the British Library on the 30th anniversary of the death of Michel Foucault, June 25, 2014, Journal of Political Power, Volume 7, Issue 3, 2014, pages 433-442
This lecture evaluates the claim made by one of his closest followers, François Ewald, that Foucault offered an apology for neoliberalism, particularly of the American school represented by Gary Becker. It draws on exchanges between Ewald and Becker in 2012 and 2013 at the University of Chicago shortly before the latter’s death. It places Foucault in relation to the then emergent Second Left in France, the critique of the welfare state, and, more broadly, the late-twentieth-century social-democratic take-up of neoliberal thought. It indicates three limitations of his thought: the problem of state ‘veridiction’; the question of inequality; and the concept of the economy. It also indicates how these might be addressed within a general appreciation of his thought.