In 1947, in the aftermath of World War II, Friedrich Hayek organized a group of thirty-nine economists, philosophers, and historians to discuss the central issues of the time from a classically liberal perspective. The Mont Pèlerin Society, named for the Swiss resort at which the first meeting was convened, met every year thereafter, growing from the original thirty-nine to more than five hundred members. Today's members include high government officials, Nobel Prize winners, journalists, business leaders, and intellectuals who continue to promote the ideas of free markets, freedom of expression, and a generally open society. Milton Friedman, one of the thirty-nine original members, was the only founding member to attend the fiftieth anniversary meeting of the society in 1997.
Milton Friedman on the first meeting of the Mont Pèlerin Society:
Here I was, a young, naïve provincial American, meeting people from all over the world, all dedicated to the same liberal principles as we were; all beleaguered in their own countries, yet among them scholars, some already internationally famous, others destined to be; making friendships which have enriched our lives, and participating in founding a society that has played a major role in preserving and strengthening liberal ideals. – Two Lucky People, p. 159
The participants at the initial conference were not generally characterized by any single position ... Although all shared a belief in the importance of preserving individual freedom and dignity, and all (save temporarily one!) wished to preserve the free market as a major instrument to this end, there was wide variation on the more immediate and specific questions of policy. Thus there were substantial differences on agricultural policy, on monetary and international trade policy in the postwar crisis, and – a strong minority of the participants were not economists – on political and philosophical questions. Religious questions were not raised at the initial conference and have not been since at any meeting that we have attended.
Indeed it was an explicit principle upon which Hayek (who was the founder of the Society in every sense) and others insisted, that tolerance and free discussion were as crucial within the Society as in the world. This has continued to the present day. – Letter to the Editor with Aaron Director and George J. Stigler, "The Mont Pèlerin Society," National Review, December 2, 1961
|George J. Stigler||Mont Pelerin Society||September 4, 1992|
|The Foundations of a Free Society||Mont Pelerin Society||September 5, 1988|
|What Could Reasonably Have Been Expected from Monetarism?||Mont Pelerin Society||August 29, 1983|
|The European Community: Friend or Foe of the Market Economy||Mont Pelerin Society||September 9, 1982|
|How Stands the Theory and Practice of Monetary Policy?||Mont Pelerin Society||July 4, 1978|
|Presidential Circular||Mont Pelerin Society||October 1971|
|Inflation||Mont Pelerin Society||September 3, 1958|