A brief overview of the Mont Pelerin Society

The Mont Pelerin Society (MPS) was founded in 1947 in Switzerland by a pioneering and multidisciplinary group of liberal thinkers brought together by Friedrich Hayek. Hayek believed that Western civilization was in danger of disappearing, and to rescue humanity, the best liberal minds needed to identify dangers and new solutions. These innovative scholars set out to discuss the state and possible fate of liberalism in thinking and practice. Four of the thirty-nine, including Hayek, would go on to win the Nobel Prize.

The Mont Pelerin Society exists as a series of meetings run by member volunteers around the globe. It is the largest academic gathering of liberals in the world. In a nutshell, it provides “for the mutual education, support and benefit of its members.” Members are “people who believe in the power of ideas to change the world and who support the idea of a free society.” The society emphasizes the core values of Western civilization: limited government, private property, rule of law, free markets, free movement of people and capital, freedom of expression and thought, the sacredness of truth and opposition to all forms of totalitarianism (from either Right or Left). Its overarching goal is “to safeguard international peace, liberty, and trade.”

MPS is an intellectual endeavor. It espouses no official views, formulates no policies, publishes no manifestos, aligns itself with no party, and accepts no political or public funding. It does not try to reach agreement in its discussions. Indeed, it is designed to encourage members to hold each other’s intellectual feet to the fire in the effort to discover truth.