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Rozmarin, E. (2017). Neo Homo Economicus and the End of the Subject. Psychoanal. Dial., 27(6):658-668.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 27(6):658-668

Neo Homo Economicus and the End of the Subject

Eyal Rozmarin, Ph.D.

Neo-liberalism is now a dominant ideology and sociopolitical-economic organizing principle. Following Nancy Hollander’s (this issue) illuminating foray into its psychological demi-monde, and in full agreement with the understanding that the subject contains and reflects the social, my commentary aims to elaborate on neo-liberalism’s subjective and intersubjecrive correlates. I also raise some more general questions about the relations between the subjective and the social, and our ways of thinking about them. I begin in exploring the value attached to caregiving and attachment. Attachment as goods exchanged and as investment. I follow by highlighting the slippage between ethical and economic meanings in terms such as “value,” “debt,” “guilt,” and “redemption,” a slippage that points to the the probable co-emergence of ethics and markets. Leaning on Foucault’s notion of homo economicus and on the psychoanalytic concept of libidinal economy, I outline some questions about the psychology of the homo economicus of neo-liberalism. I question what seems to me a nostalgic sentiment that runs through neo-liberalism as well as recent psychoanalytic theories, suggesting that this similarity demonstrates how psychoanalytic thinking itself reflects the current order of things. Finally, I wonder whether, under this ideology, we are encountering not only a new kind of subjectivity but also the end of subjectivity as a fundament of human life.

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