Power in Neoliberal Thought

Thomas Biebricher

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The paper examines how questions of power are addressed in neoliberal thought. The thesis underlying this endeavor is the following: all varieties of neoliberal thought harbor a blind spot regarding various forms of power. This means that certain power effects are overlooked or systematically brushed aside by definitional fiat. The paper aims to validate this thesis by discussing two leading proponents of neoliberal thought whose respective approaches to the issue of power can be considered representative of neoliberal theory in general: Friedrich August von Hayek and Walter Eucken. While Hayek attempts to marginalize certain forms of economic power through a strict focus on a narrow understanding of coercion, Eucken confronts the issue of market power directly. Still, he in turn remains oblivious not only to the power effects of his own ‘scientific’ discourse but also the subjectivating power of markets to mold ‘entrepreneurial subjects’.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Political Power
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)193-210
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Power
  • Hayek
  • Eucken
  • Neoliberalism
  • Foucault

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