Gambling with “Human Capital”: on the Speculative Logic of the “Knowledge Economy”

Jean François Bissonnette, Christian Laval


The educational and academic fields have not been spared by the neoliberal logic. They indeed became one of its primary targets. Critics of neoliberalism too often neglect this, for they merely see in the latter a doctrine exclusively concerned with economic policy. They forget that knowledge constituted in fact a central element of the various approaches that contributed to the neoliberal synthesis.1 The “knowledge economy”, as it is often called, is the paradigmatic product of this synthesis. It holds that economic growth is set to become ever more “knowledge intensive”, and thus, that only those economic and political actors who manage to produce and make use of the rarest innovations and skills will prevail in the global competition between firms and the nation states that champion them…

Published on 20th April, 2017, in World Social and Economic Review Issue 8, April 2017 – The Political Economy of the University INC.