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Capital Flows Through Language: Market English, Biopower, and the World Bank

J. Paul Narkunas


In 1997, the World Bank Group1 published in English one of its many

country studies, entitled Vietnam: Education Financing. Its goal was

to measure ‘what changes in educational policies will ensure that students

who pass through the system today will acquire the knowledge,

skills and attitudes needed for Vietnam to complete the transition successfully

from a planned to a market economy’(World Bank 1997:

xiii). Skills, knowledge, and attitude designate the successfully ‘educated’

Vietnamese national subjects for the bank. The educational

‘system’ performs, therefore, a disciplinary function by using the

technologies of the nation state to cultivate productive humans—measured

by technical expertise and computer and business skills—for

transnational companies who do business in the region.

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