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this is interesting. It does make me wish Foucault had known more about economics, at least earlier. I would say, though, that your one point isn't so much "putting things in Schmittian terms" but rather showing that Schmitt was just flatly wrong about politics, at least if we're considering it a question about essential natures (as he seemed to be suggesting) and that this also shows that current "left Schittian" "realists" are going down a wrong path too.

It also would have been interesting to see what Foucault would have thought about the development of the WTO (which also seems to falsify Schmitt) if he'd lived long enough to see it. (I think this is so even if it's being trashed by Trump now.)

Eric Schliesser

Hi Matt, thank you (yes?)!
1. I am no expert, but it's clear that in The Birth of Biopolitics, he is also revisiting, en passant, a lot of features of his earlier works which both make this lecture series possible, but also need revision in light of it. Even so, perhaps not knowing economics earlier helped him be so fresh.
2. Yes, I like the implications you draw from this about Schmitt, which is something that is baked into Foucault's method. (So may be thought begging the question.)
3. See my previous comment; i have to think about to what degree today's left Schmittians and realists presuppose essential nature(s). Have you developed this?
4. Indeed, it is notable that Foucault is uninterested in GATT, Haberler, etc. This is really why Slobodian's book is so relevant to my own recent thinking. [Although in fairness to me, I have been blogging for a few years before about the significance of the international dimension to neoliberalisms.]


I'm no expert on Schmitt, but I read _The Concept of the Political_ in my spare time recently, and it certainly seemed to me that he thought he was saying something about the essential nature of politics. (Would we call it, pretentiously, "the political", if he hadn't written in German? I'm skeptical.) He seemed to think it was _essentially_ friend/enemy, and that if the relationship wasn't like that, then it either wasn't "political" or else would become friend/enemy. As far as I could tell, there really wasn't much of an argument. The book seemed to me to be largely a string of ipse dixits, said with great conviction but not much evidence

The left version sometimes invokes Lenin, of course, but not with much more plausibility as to the essential nature of politics. (I'm skeptical that there is an essential nature, but if that's so, then both Lenin's "who/whom" and Schmitt's "friend/enemy" are at best occasional situations, ones to be avoided if at all possible.) I find these approaches all so obviously wrong that it's hard to gather energy to try to write about it.

But! I should read the Slobodian book, in any case, it seems. Thanks for mentioning it.

Shelley Tremain

Do you still plan to post Part II on this subject?

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Here's a link to my past blogging (and discussions involving me) at: New APPS.


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