About The Mont Pelerin Society

The Mont Pelerin Society is composed of persons who continue to see the dangers to civilized society outlined in the statement of aims. They have seen economic and political liberalism in the ascendant for a time since World War II in some countries but also its apparent decline in more recent times.

Though not necessarily sharing a common interpretation, either of causes or consequences, they see danger in the expansion of government, not least in state welfare, in the power of trade unions and business monopoly, and in the continuing threat and reality of inflation.

Again without detailed agreements, the members see the Society as an effort to interpret in modern terms the fundamental principles of economic society as expressed by those classical economists, political scientists, and philosophers who have inspired many in Europe, America and throughout the Western World.

A Short History of the Mont Pelerin Society

After World War II, in 1947, when many of the values of Western civilization were imperiled, 36 scholars, mostly economists, with some historians and philosophers, were invited by Professor Friedrich Hayek to meet at Mont Pelerin, near Montreux, Switzerland, to discuss the state and the possible fate of liberalism (in its classical sense) in thinking and practice.

The group described itself as the Mont Pelerin Society, after the place of the first meeting. It emphasised that it did not intend to create an orthodoxy, to form or align itself with any political party or parties, or to conduct propaganda. Its sole objective was to facilitate an exchange of ideas between like-minded scholars in the hope of strengthening the principles and practice of a free society and to study the workings, virtues, and defects of market-oriented economic systems.

Members, who include high government officials, Nobel prize recipients, journalists, economic and financial experts, and legal scholars from all over the world, come regularly together to present the most current analysis of ideas, trends and events.

Milton Friedman (in light coat and with hat, in the centre) with friends in an excursion at the first meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society in 1947.

Karl Popper (back row), Ludwig von Mises (front row to the right) and other participants during a session at the first meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society in 1947.


Friedrich Hayek (far left) was the first President of the Mont Pelerin Society. George Stigler once quipped that the Society could be called “The Friends of F. A. Hayek.“ Hayek was one of the most influential and interesting thinkers of the 20th Century. His most famous book was his polemic against socialism, The Road to Serfdom.