Worlds Beyond Cambridge: The Global Web of the ‘Neoliberal Thought Collective’

Ashwani Saith*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


The battles of Cambridge economics had history, and not just within Cambridge. And there was geography: while Cambridge folklore generally portrays the purge of heterodox economics as an insular intra-Cambridge, even intra-Faculty affair, as the outcome of the organised academic and institutional violence of the local orthodox axis, there were worlds beyond Cambridge exercising deeper and wider influences and networks—academic, political and ideological—that played a crucial role in the transfer of power from the heterodox lineages to their orthodox adversaries. This chapter investigates selected aspects of the processes and strategies that underlay the construction of the powerful global ‘neoliberal thought collective’, reviewing in turn its core formation, diffusion and operationalisation of its ideational perspectives into wider policy and political domains through a vast network of corporate-funded think tanks; the priceless and well-managed anointing of their ideological doctrine through the global market branding provided by the device of the so-called Nobel Prize in Economic Science through prize committees with affinity and association with the Hayekian Mont Pelerin Society; the subsequent weaponisation of the neoliberal message through its systematic infiltration into the political realm via the agency of political leaderships nurtured by it; and finally, a sketch of how the power of these articulated disciplinary, ideological and political formations came to besiege and displace Cambridge heterodox economics in its own citadel. The chapter complements the internal, insular narrative of the Cambridge purges to provide a more holistic perspective on the process of paradigm and regime change.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication Cambridge Economics in the Post-Keynesian Era
Subtitle of host publicationThe Eclipse of Heterodox Traditions
Number of pages115
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

SeriesPalgrave Studies in the History of Economic Thought

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


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