The Mont Pèlerin Society and the Rise of a Postwar Classical Liberal Counter-Establishment

  • Niels Bjerre-Poulsen
Part of the The Palgrave Macmillan Transnational History Series book series (PMSTH)


In March of 1947, the Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek gathered a group of 39 participants from 10 different countries together at Mont Pèlerin, near Vevey in Switzerland. The idea was to create an informal network of scholars and politicians, who all shared a belief in liberalism and who all believed that freedom was under serious threat, either from socialism or from Keynesian ideas. The participants, who had been exclusively selected by Hayek, believed that not only had faith in the forces of a free-market economy been dealt a severe blow during the economic crises of the 1930s, but equally troubling, the wartime experiences of many Western countries had also convinced the political elites that central planning was a viable option. Democracies not only faced an external threat from communism, these liberals would argue, but also an existential one from the collectivist ideas of their own governing elites.1


Chicago School Social Market Economy Liberty Fund Liberal Capitalism Governing Elite 
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  1. 1.
    The Papers of the Mont Pèlerin Society are located at the Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford University (hereafter MPS Papers). On the Mont Pèlerin Society’s history, see R.M. Hartwell, A History of the Mont Pèlerin Society (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1995);Google Scholar
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© Niels Bjerre-Poulsen 2014

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  • Niels Bjerre-Poulsen

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