Terms

Mont Pelerin Society What It is History

Mont Pelerin Society What It is History

Mont Pelerin Society: What It is, History

Ariel Courage is an experienced editor, researcher, and former fact-checker. She has performed editing and fact-checking work for leading finance publications, including The Motley Fool and Passport to Wall Street.

What Is the Mont Pelerin Society?

The Mont Pelerin Society (MPS) is a group of classical liberal economists, philosophers, and historians. Although members can have heterogeneous analysis of causes and consequences, the Society notes that its members "see danger in the expansion of government, especially in state welfare, trade unions, business monopoly, and inflation."

Key Takeaways

  • The Mont Pelerin Society (MPS) is a group of academics, writers, and thought leaders who meet to discuss, debate, and promote the ideas of classical liberalism.
  • MPS was founded in 1947 by economist Friedrich Hayek and has met annually or biennially since.
  • MPS exists to preserve, develop, and disseminate (through academia and think tanks) the classical liberal ideals of free markets, individual rights, and an open society.

Understanding the Mont Pelerin Society

The Mont Pelerin Society was founded in 1947, when Friedrich Hayek invited a group of 36 scholars—mostly economists, though some historians and philosophers were included as well—to discuss the fate of modern liberalism. The group emphasized that it did not intend to create an orthodoxy or align with any political parties. Rather, it was intended to act as a forum for like-minded scholars to debate the fate of classical liberalism and to discuss and analyze the workings, virtues, and defects of the market-oriented system in which its proponents believed. It currently meets once every two years.

READ MORE  Marginal Land What it is How it Works Uses

Its members have included prominent subscribers of the more liberal, libertarian, and Austrian schools of economic thought; apart from Hayek himself, Milton Friedman, Ludwig von Mises, and William F. Buckley Jr. have also been members. The group has counted nine Nobel prizewinners (eight in economics, including Hayek and Friedman, and one in literature) among its members.

History of the Mont Pelerin Society

The original statement of the Society’s founders noted concern about the growing "dangers to civilization" from the increasing power of governments across many parts of the globe. This statement (at the first meeting of the group in 1947) came during the post-World War II economic and political landscape. The Mont Pelerin Society was born in response to the formation of the Eastern Bloc, the domination of Western economies by Depression-era and wartime socialism, and the rise of interventionist economic theories in academia and public policy circles.

Thus, the primary struggle in the first years of the Society was characterized as that between liberalism and totalitarianism, where the former was being shunted aside or actively repressed worldwide as the latter eliminated the rule of law, the rights of the individual, and the right to a free society.

More recently, the rise of "big government" in the West and re-emerging authoritarianism in parts of the world that had previously moved towards democratic, liberal ideas have been of concern. The Society promotes free-market economics and ways to replace many government functions with free enterprise. The Society also advocates for freedom of expression and the political values of an open society.

READ MORE  Vandalism and Malicious Mischief Insurance How It Works

Hayek served as the Society’s president from 1947 to 1961. Other notable presidents included Milton Friedman (1970-72) and George Stigler (1976-78). The current president is Linda Whetstone.

The Bottom Line

Although the lack of a formal, homogenous grouping (and therefore policy statements) makes it difficult to judge the group’s impact on policy, the considerable overlap between its members and academia, think tanks, and other organizations implies the dissemination of its ideas into the policy debate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *