The importance of ideas – and the individuals propagating them – is enhanced at times of crisis. When existing arrangements are challenged, new ideas help reconfigure group interests and alliances, forge new institutions and plan the future. This paper looks at one such set of ideas, born in response to the crisis facing Greece’s post-war economy: the views of Constantinos Doxiadis, an architect, senior civil servant and policy-maker active in Greece’s recovery programme. Drawing on policy documents, publications and memoranda, the paper sketches the values, intellectual influences and methods underpinning Doxiadis’ views on reconstruction. This casts light on the origins of his later proposals for a science of ekistics, whilst also undermining the conventional notion that left-wing theorists were alone in advancing progressive views of Greek development before 1947. In fact, Doxiadis’ vision seeks to transcend the Right–Left divide by presenting economic progress as an apolitical, scientific process, which would render ideology irrelevant. Such views owe much to the intellectual tradition of interwar technocracy and played a key role in shaping the concept of economic development after 1945.