In the last three decades, neoliberalism has defined a brave new capitalist world – a world in which financial markets preside over the allocation of resources. Under neoliberal capitalism, investors are not only allowed to reap an exorbitant rent from the production of others: they are also invested with the power to decide what is worth producing. In addition to siphoning off wealth, financial institutions establish the criteria that shape the business plans of corporations and the budgets of elected governments.
This lecture series purports to show that the rule of investors proves as transformative of personal motivation and conduct as of corporate management and statecraft. I will argue that, just like in the past with other shifts in governing practices, a new representation of human potential and human frailties – a distinctively neoliberal perspective on the human condition – is implicated in the financial turn of capitalism.