Home > Uncategorized > The neoliberal governance of the self: a clarification

The neoliberal governance of the self: a clarification

from Maria Alejandra Madi

My last post on Behavioural Economics arose some interesting questions about the rationality of the neoliberal governance of the self and its relation to the current research about psychology and cognitive theories. (https://rwer.wordpress.com/2019/03/20/beyond-behavioral-economics-the-self-governance-of-nudging/#comment-150149)

The neoliberal governance of self-care (or neoliberal governance of the self) relies on Dual Process Cognitive Theories (DPTs), especially the one elaborated by Daniel Kahneman. According to him, the distinction between Econs and Humans rejects the concept of homo oeconomicus of the neoclassical theory.  The human brain functions in ways that refer to a distinction between two kinds of thinking: automatic  and reflective (rational), and Kahneman called these ways of thinking System 1 and System 2, respectively. His Dual Process Cognitive Theory tries to explain why human beings actually systematically deviate from rational decisions.   read more

  1. March 23, 2019 at 1:05 am

    I enjoyed being able to click “Like.” (at the fuller article).

  2. Claudio Contador
    March 23, 2019 at 1:25 am

    Em sex, 22 de mar de 2019 21:47, Real-World Economics Review Blog escreveu:

    > Maria Alejandra Madi posted: “from Maria Alejandra Madi My last post on > Behavioural Economics arose some interesting questions about the > rationality of the neoliberal governance of the self and its relation to > the current research about psychology and cognitive theories. (https://r” >

  3. Ken Zimmerman
    March 30, 2019 at 2:28 am

    Maria, on target with all your remarks. I want to expand on your comments. First, Thaler and Sunstein need to spend a great deal more effort and time studying brain structure and chemistry. After decades of brain mapping and studying brain chemistry, the best assumption is that the brain works as a single unit. Brain scans show certain parts become more active during certain activities, e.g., lying vs. telling the truth, solving a problem vs. falling in love, competition vs. cooperation. But we also find the patterns often vary from person to person and change with age, environment, and general health. We also know from case histories that when one part of the brain is damaged, other parts attempt and often do take over the functions of the damaged part. In extreme cases, one hemisphere of the brain can even compensate at least partially for the loss of the other hemisphere. Consequently, there really is no System 1 and System 2 in terms of brain structure and chemistry. However, we’ve also found that culture shapes how the brain functions; what parts are used and for what purposes. Thaler and Sunstein propose cultural changes that would over time likely change brain function of those socialized into the culture they propose. There is nothing more normative than culture. Culture is Sapiens efforts to use its physical structures, including the brain to build a way of life that protects the species now and in the future. There have been in the history of Sapiens literally thousands of cultures. Each shaping Sapiens’ life and physical structures to fulfil the needs and goals of the culture. Thaler’s and Sunstein’s efforts in this regard are just one part of this history. Theirs is an effort to build “homo economicus” as culture. In this way, in their view homo economicus becomes “natural,” the natural state of Sapiens. No more escape. It’s smart and devious as hell. It’s the kind of actions Orwell wrote about. Any psychological or sociological researcher or practitioner who tried what they propose would immediately be up before an ethics or practice board, or both, as well as the local and national licensing agencies. And would be strongly reprimanded and disciplined. But economists are not subject to any such oversight.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.