6.30pm-8pm, Tuesday, 4 March, 2014

Although the history of neoliberalism has to be traced back to the Colloque Walter Lippmann in Paris in 1938, the talk will focus on the key actors and constituencies of the Mont Pèlerin Society founded by Hayek, Röpke, Mises and others in 1947 in Switzerland. The overview covers the key characteristics of the 1000 plus members of the comprehensive neoliberal discourse community, and directs attention to the proliferation of think tanks founded or directed by neoliberal intellectuals. The history can be roughly divided in three parts: a defensive early phase followed by a neoliberal movement phase leading to the present neoliberal consolidation. The global financial crisis arguably generated the greatest challenge to neoliberal hegemonic constellations so far, but the work of neoliberal intellectuals and think tanks directed to defend the status quo ante crisis can easily be underestimated.

Dieter Plehwe is senior fellow in the project group “Modes of Economic Governance”. He has worked before in the WZB departments “Organization and Employment” (1996-2002) and “Internationalization and Organization” (2005-2011). He held teaching positions at Yale University (2002-2004) and the University of Vienna (2008/9). During the academic year 2004-5 he was a visiting fellow at the International Center for Advanced Studies at New York University. His research focuses on the transformation of European governance, history and varieties of neoliberalism, public policy, logistics, transport and environmental policies. Dieter has advised members of the Bundestag, German, European and global trade unions in the transport and energy sectors as well as German and European works councils in postal, transport and logistics companies.

His work has appeared among others in Critical Policy Studies, Globalizations, Austrian Journal of Development Studies, Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie and Industrielle Beziehungen. He has recently edited a volume on The Road from Mont Pèlerin. The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective (Harvard University Press) and led the effort to create the public think tank database Think Tank Network Research.

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