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The Road from Mont Pelerin: The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0674033184 ISBN-10: 0674033183 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; 1 edition (July 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674033183
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674033184
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #897,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


The Road from Mont Pèlerin uncovers and lays bare the origins of one of the most important political phenomena of our time--the development of the neoliberal discourse coalition that has come to shape the modern political economy. (Frank Fischer, Rutgers University)

A fascinating and important book, one that speaks in radical, perceptive, and provocative ways to contemporary debates around neoliberalism. (Jamie Peck, University of British Columbia)

This excellent book contributes significantly to our understanding of the origins of neoliberalism and its transformation into political discourse and policy. (Steven Lukes, New York University)

About the Author

Philip Mirowski is Carl Koch Professor of Economics and the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Notre Dame.

Dieter Plehwe is a Senior Fellow at the Social Science Research Centre Berlin.

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Customer Reviews

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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Krul on July 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
"The Road from Mont Pèlerin" is the first work since the in-house history of the society by Hartwell to trace the origins, meaning, and development of the Mont Pèlerin Society and its role in the making of the neoliberal thought collective, as the editors call it. This collection is therefore first and foremost a work of modern history of ideas. While many people have written critical histories of the meaning and origins of neoliberalism, this work is perhaps the most academic and most strongly researched of them all, and goes beyond the more popular level of discussion of the effects of neoliberal policy in practice and the ways of political power, instead focusing more on the way in which 'neoliberalism' has become a strong and identifiable political philosophy. As the authors of this collection emphasize, it is first and foremost that: not an economic theory, nor simply an old laissez-faire doctrine in a new jacket, but an entire political philosophy and world outlook that is all the more powerful for the obscurity of its real content. Whereas other authors have at times simply sufficed to identify neoliberalism with particular politicians (Thatcher, Reagan, Blair) or with 'free market' policies, as co-editor Mirowski explains in his excellent postface, the philosophy of neoliberalism as it originated as an integral whole at Mont Pèlerin is quite distinct in several ways.Read more ›
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14 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Scot Griffin on March 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had read the popular works of Friedman, Hayek and Mises, and I was struck by what appeared to be extreme naivete (or stupidity) by such worldly, brilliant men. They each painted a picture of a world that did not actually exist, and that cannot exist as each man's picture does not include corporations or recognize that corporations, which are state-sanctioned entities, are the primary economic actors of our world, not individual human beings (or entrepreneurs).

This book, and what it led me to discover, helped me recognize neoliberalism for the movement that it was at the beginning and understand how neoliberalism became the collection of policies and theories that it is today.

Contrary to the critical reviews, the Road from Mont Pelerin is a well-researched history of neoliberalism from its idealistic beginnings at the University of Chicago with the now forgotten Henry Simons (and the well-known Hayek), to its co-option by moneyed interests represented by the likes of Rockefeller and the Volker Fund. Example, when Hayek embarked on creating a new type of liberalism, he was against monopoly. But then he received funding from pro-monopoly interests and voila, he was all for monopoly (actually, I am oversimplifying a great deal; but the reality was that before he was paid to think otherwise, he was all for government intervention to break up monopoly, and afterwards he was against such intervention).

I did not accept the authors' conclusions as truth, however. I followed their cited original sources as much as I could, including picking up the more wonky works of Hayek, for example. The Road from Mont Pelerin is a first step on the road to understanding neoliberalism.
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21 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Rafe Champion on May 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book contains a mass of intricate historical detail that the authors have compiled on the activities of the "neoliberal thought collective" and precursors such as a group associated with Walter Lippmann in France. It is important to note from the go get that the authors have come to bury the Mont Pelerin Society, not to praise it. The degree of partisan bias exceeds the decent minimum that we are allowed, being human, and so it lacks credibility for all the interest of some of the stories.

Dieter Plehwe wrote the introduction. Keith Tribe - the movement in Britain from 1930 to 1980. Ralf Ptak - the ordoliberal foundations of the social market economy. Rob Van Horn and Philip Mirowski - the rise of the Chicago School of Economics. Yves Steiner - confronting the trade unions. Rob van Horn - on the Chicago attack on the law and economics of trust-busting. Dieter Plehwe on the origins of the neoliberal economic development discourse. Kim Phillips-Fein on the role of business conservatives. Karin Fischer on the influence of the neolibs in Chile before, during and after Pinochet. Jennifer Bair on the new international order. Timothy Mitchell on urban property rights in Peru. Postface, Mirowski defining neoliberalism.

Mirowski starts with a critique of "Wayward Wikipedia" and the "double truth" which is distorted by editorial influence beind the scenes. The Mont Pelerin Society is supposed to be dedicated to freedom and spontaneous order, but "neoliberals are simulteneously elitists: they do not in fact practice what they preach" p 425. When they organise things, "the cosmos collapses to a taxis"..."something like the double truth doctrine holds for neoliberal theories of also holds for the notion of a `constructivist' approach to social reality".
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