Although Foucault was not a scholar who worked within the history of economic thought, his insights in the revolution that led to the emergence of neoliberalism seem to be persuasive. In the present chapter Foucault’s analysis is to be seen as a starting point, in the sense that other authors and other strains of contemporary critical theory will be considered in order to achieve a deeper comprehension of neoliberalism – or, better, in order to posit neoliberalism as a research object that can be defined and grasped in its autonomy and self-consistency. Before offering an outline of what Foucault understands by neoliberalism, it

is important to pay attention to the reasons that led him to shift his research to this subject. Then, the difference between his interpretation and the one provided by neo-Marxist or neo-Gramscian authors will emerge more clearly. The autonomy of the domain where the sovereign state acts will be outlined starting from some insights coming from the disciplinary domain of international relations. Finally, the global reach of neoliberal governmentality will be explained as a form of reduction of systemic complexity that draws its efficacy from the rude simplicity of its assumptions.