Keywords: Neoliberalism; Biopolitics; Austrian School of Economics; Spontaneous Orders; Homo Oeconomicus.
This essay presents a comparison between two very different perspectives on liberalism: that of F.A. Hayek and that of Michel Foucault. Foucault conceives of neo-liberalism as a project of "governmentality" of individuals by means of market economy. First, the paper highlights the partiality of Foucault's interpretation and argues that it cannot be applied to the theories of the Austrian School, which are based on methodological individualism and rest on a broader philosophy of social sciences. Secondly, the paper discusses how the concept of self-government as developed in the late Foucauldian thought seems partially influenced by his studies on liberalism. On this basis, the paper examines some ideas that Foucault might have shared with the libertarians views of Hayek, aiming at the asymptotic reduction of any legal monopoly of power. The author argues that Hayek and Foucault share this aspiration while being both aware that power as such can never be totally eradicated.