Recent debates in IPE have (re)visited questions of the material and ideological in historical materialist analysis. The article begins with a rereading of the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci which argues that, according to Gramsci, certain (organic) material phenomena reveal the contradictions of the capital relation and hence precipitate the role of ideas. The focus of the article is then an empirical examination of the role of intellectuals in producing neo-liberal common sense, shaping responses to crises in Germany and France. Two economic research institutes are considered, arguing that they are both ‘organic’ to transnational class fractions in their respective member states. The article asserts that these institutes aim to present the corporate (‘neo-liberal’) interests of these fractions as universally beneficial; this is the crucial stage in the production of common sense/good sense. Finally though, in examining the international community of economists the article seeks to demonstrate the privileged position of the ‘Atlantic’ heartland in shaping this pan-European form of knowledge.