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The Walter Lippmann Colloquium (French: Colloque Walter Lippmann), was a conference of intellectuals organized in Paris in August 1938 by French philosopher Louis Rougier.[1] After interest in classical liberalism had declined in the 1920s and 1930s, the aim was to construct a new liberalism as a rejection of collectivism, socialism and laissez-faire liberalism.[2] At the meeting, the term neoliberalism was coined by Alexander Rüstow referring to the rejection of the (old) laissez-faire liberalism.[2]


The colloquium was named after American journalist Walter Lippmann. Lippman's 1937 book An Enquiry into the Principles of the Good Society had been translated into French as La Cité libre and was studied in detail at the meeting.


Twenty-six intellectuals, including some of the most prominent liberal thinkers, took part. The participants chose to set up an organization to promote liberalism which was called the Comité international d'étude pour le renouveau du libéralisme (CIERL). Though CIERL had few consequences because of the war, it inspired Friedrich Hayek in the postwar creation of the Mont Pelerin Society.

Michel Foucault's 1978–1979 Collège de France lectures, published a quarter of a century later as The Birth of Biopolitics, drew attention to the importance of the Walter Lippmann Colloquium.[3]

Ideological cleavagesEdit

The participants were divided into two primary camps; one, represented by Mises, Hayek, Jacques Rueff, and Étienne Mantoux, which advocated a strict adherence to Manchester liberalism and laissez-faire; the other camp, represented by Rüstow, Raymond Aron, Wilhelm Röpke, Auguste Detoeuf, Robert Marjolin, Louis Marlio, and Lippmann, opted for a kind of social liberalism which was more favorable to state intervention and regulation and Keynesian solutions.[4]


Participants of the Colloquium included:[3]

Walter Eucken was invited to the colloquium, but he was not given permission to leave Germany.


  1. ^ Denord, François (2009). "French Neoliberalism and its Divisions: From the Colloque Walter Lippmann to the Fifth Republic". In Philip Mirowski and Dieter Plehwe (ed.). The Road from Mont Pèlerin: The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective. Harvard University Press. pp. 45–67. ISBN 978-0-674-03318-4. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  2. ^ a b Plehwe, Dieter (2009). "Introduction". In Philip Mirowski and Dieter Plehwe (ed.). The Road from Mont Pèlerin: The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective. Harvard University Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-674-03318-4. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  3. ^ a b Foucault, Michel (2010). The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1978–1979. tr, Graham Burchell. Picador. pp. 132–3, 151–2. ISBN 978-0-312-20341-2. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  4. ^ Rosenblatt, Helena (2012). French Liberalism from Montesquieu to the Present Day. Cambridge University Press. pp. 214–219.

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