Walter Eucken is mostly known for his impact on establishing the Social Market Economy in post-war Germany. In this paper we identify how Eucken was highly influential in the formation of the Mont Pèlerin Society (MPS), and how German ordoliberalism left a significant footprint on the early history of the MPS. To show this organizational cooperation, we primarily analyze Eucken’s correspondence with F. A. Hayek and Wilhelm Röpke. In a next step, we portray their intellectual debates 1945–1950 and again extensively draw on correspondence, as well as on traces of influences in publications in the fields of methodology and epistemology. Subsequently, we reconstruct the first MPS meetings between 1947 and 1949 and identify notable substantive overlaps, but also a widening gap between a Continental and an Anglo-Saxon understanding of neoliberalism – despite the pronounced personal friendship and esteem between Eucken and Hayek. Finally, we present personal memories of Leonhard Miksch, a student and associate of Eucken who attended the 1949 MPS meeting, recorded in his so far unpublished diary.


Kolev, S., Goldschmidt, N. and Hesse, JO. Debating Liberalism: Walter Eucken, F. A. Hayek and the early history of the Mont Pèlerin Society. Rev Austrian Econ (2019).