From an economic perspective, the vision of man becomes very, very poor. Man is a being who responds to stimuli from the environment, and we can modify his behavior with a choice of stimuli. And what government is, what power is, is the use of different kinds of stimuli. The economic theory gives a set of tools, a “good manner” to use stimuli to obtain the right comportment. In this respect, the result of the theory, perhaps, is to produce a vision of man that is very impoverished.
This is French philosopher François Ewald taking a moment away from his task of explaining Foucault’s thoughts on Gary Becker’s work to elaborate his own thoughts on the discipline of economics. Read the whole thing (pdf). It’s a short paper on Michel Foucault’s thoughts about American liberalism (or neoliberalism) and particularly Gary Becker’s work.