Alan Peacock

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Alan Turner Peacock (born 26 June 1922) is a free market economist who founded the David Hume Institute and was associated with the Mont Pelerin Society. He was an economic advisor to Margaret Thatcher.


Alan Peacock was born on 26 June 1922, the son of Professor A. D. Peacock and of Clara Mary Peacock. He attended the Grove Academy in Dundee and Dundee High School and then the University of St. Andrews. He became a Lecturer in Economics at St Andrews in 1947. [1] In 1948 he joined the London School of Economics and subsequently worked at several posts in academia. He was Reader in Public Finance, University of London, 1951–56; Professor of Economic Science, University of Edinburgh, 1957–62; and Professor of Economics, University of York, 1962–78.[2]

Prior to his commitment to the DHI Peacock was Professor of Economics at York University and Vice Chancellor of the independent (ie private) University of Buckingham. He also sat on a number of committees: for example, he was chairman of the Home Office Committee on Financing the BBC between 1985 and 1986, where he proposed making subscription to the BBC voluntary and to bring more more market mechanisms into the broadcasting sector. When, in 2004, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), where Peacock was a Fellow, gave an address on the same topic, it boasted that Peacock's ideas were now being 'discussed by several commentators, including experts from the BBC and Ofcom' [3] Peacock was member of various other UK Government and international Commissions and served as Chief Economic Adviser in the UK Department of Trade and Industry between 1973-76.

Northern neoliberal outpost

According to Peacock, his motivation to set up the DHI was to establish an institute independent of government funding in order to avoid constraints on research and publication and to counter the 'metropolitan perspective of economic events' coming from the overwhelming number of research institutes based in London (Peacock 1995). The DHI, in the 1980s, can be considered an outpost of neoliberal thought and Thatcherite ideology in Scotland.

He gave a paper at the 24th Meeting of the MPS “For a Free Society in the Coming Decade”in Berlin, Germany, September 5-10, 1982. It was titled 'Germany as a Testing Ground'. [4]



  1. PEACOCK, Prof. Sir Alan (Turner)’, Who's Who 2009, A & C Black, 2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2008 [Accessed 9 Oct 2009]
  2. PEACOCK, Prof. Sir Alan (Turner)’, Who's Who 2009, A & C Black, 2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2008 [Accessed 9 Oct 2009]
  3. Institute of Economic Affairs, Public Service Broadcasting Without the BBC? [Accessed 3 February 2005]
  4. Liberaal Archief (Liberal Archive), Mont Pèlerin Society, Inventory of the General Meeting Files (1947-1998) [Accessed 15 June 2010]