ÖZP 2007/2 S.201-218
"EXPLAIN ME THE WORLD" - Neoliberal ideological social work with the example of the Viennese Hayek Institute
Keywords: Think Tanks, Hayek, Mont Pelerin Society, Austrian Economics, Hayek Institut
Think tanks are institutions that create knowledge which influence public opinion and policy making processes. In fact, neoliberalism can look back on a long tradition in this respect. Beginning with the Mont Pelerin Society, founded by the Austrian economist and philosopher Friedrich v. Hayek in 1947, there arised first in England, then in other countries numerous institutions whose intention were to oppose the Keynesean after-war-consensus. Hayek called Western democracies "unrestricted democracies" that would be inconsistent with a liberal order. In his view they would finally lead to "The Road to Serfdom", that is the title of his famous book published in 1944. The Viennese Hayek Institute wants to support the worldwide renaissance of the Austrian School of Economics and tries to make its ideas useful for public affairs activities. Starting with giving an overview of the basic ideas of Hayek the article first outlines the neoliberal think tank scene on a broad scale, also in a historical perspective, and tries to evaluate the significance of the Austrian School within this network; then it deals with the activities of the Hayek Institute and analyzes the connections with both national economic and political elites and a transnational neoliberal community.