ABSTRACT. Since the 1960s, human capital theory has gained prominence by postulating education as the mean of increased monetary returns on social and personal investment. The pursuit of knowledge for economic ends is in line with productive power of economics as a social science that positions humans as subjects and subjected to a form of knowledge. This paper extends Foucault’s (2008) analysis of human capital as an important aspect of “American neo-liberalism.” The paper as a short genealogy of human capital exposes the assumptions about “human” and primacy of “capital” over humanity by connecting its role in establishing a mode of self-governance that begins with education as public and private endeavor. Situating human capital in a historical context it becomes visible that the scholarship of the proponents of the theory offers more than a language to economic education and to economize education. As a construction of knowledge human capital constitutes a mode of existence by altering education and labor.
JEL codes: E24; J24; N3

Keywords: human capital; education; Foucault; governmentality; biopolitics

How to cite: Moghtader, Bruce (2017), “Human Capital and Education of Desires after Michel Foucault,” Journal of Self-Governance and Management Economics 5(4): 35–52.

Received 11 February 2017 • Received in revised form 27 March 2017
Accepted 27 March 2017 • Available online 14 April 2017


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