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The Managerial Revolution: What Is Happening in the World

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  127 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Burnham’s claim was that capitalism was dead, but that it was being replaced not by socialism, but a new economic system he called 'managerialism' - rule by managers.

Written in 1941, this is the book that theorised how the world was moving into the hands of the 'managers'. Burnham explains how Capitalism had virtually lost its control, and would be displaced not by labour,
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Hardcover, 285 pages
Published April 24th 1972 by Praeger (first published 1941)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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Vagabond of Letters, DLitt
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dont-own
8/10. A minor modern classic.

Not entirely accurate in its prognostications, but not as wrong as it seems on the surface. Burnham had a problem with being too bound to the zeitgeist to understand historical developments in perspective - likewise in 'Suicide of the West' - but he presents here fragmented components of a framework helpful for understanding the world as it developed (which in fact took on many criteria of the managerial society, but with capitalism more tenacious than predicted) an
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quoms
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
James Burnham is not one of the great prognosticators of the 20th century, and nearly everything he writes in this book is wrong, but he's wrong in that grand tradition of bloviating conservative intellectuals where they really swing for the fences and it's all very engaging and thought-provoking even as it's fundamentally misdirected. Burnham's wit is sharp, his prose is tight, and you can tell he's aiming at some very interesting ideas even as he misses most of them. It's the kind of writing t ...more
Miquixote
Burnham argued that capitalism was a temporary form of organization currently being transformed into some non-socialist future form of society.

Burnham argued correctly that capitalism could not be regarded as an immutable and permanent form. In Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, mass unemployment was "a symptom that a given type of social organization is just about finished."

The worldwide mass unemployment of the depression era was, for Burnham, indicative that capitalism was itself "not goin
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Xenophon Hendrix
Jun 24, 2018 rated it liked it
The Managerial Revolution was written in 1940 and published in the spring of 1941, before the United States entered World War Two as a combatant and Hitler betrayed Stalin with Operation Barbarossa. The memory of the Great Depression was still sharp in James Burnham's mind. He predicts that the days of capitalism are numbered, and he believes that socialism, in the sense of a classless, democratic society, is impossible. In the book he puts forth the hypothesis that capitalist society is in the ...more
Bill Berg
https://beingbeliefbehavior.blogspot....

the lukewarm review is because I believe the set of people that will find this book useful is quite small -- but if you have a fairly strong desire to get a bit deeper into the "path" or "random walk" of history, you will find it at least interesting.
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Michael Malice
Oct 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
horribly outdated and utterly wrong in all its predictions
Joel
Feb 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I think it’s safe to say that Karl Marx would not have recognized the mystical lands behind the iron curtain. I think it’s also fair to say that Adam Smith would not have recognized 1950s America. I do however believe that James Burnham would recognize our current world order.

We are trained to think of only two mechanisms of social organization. Capitalism and Marxism. Capitalism, which started in the late middle ages (circa 1300s?) and ended in 1914 in a tremendous explosion of violence; and Ma
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sologdin
ex-trot turned rightwinger lifts some trot ideas, such as 'bureaucratic collectivism,' gives them a far right twerk, and publishes as original research. yawn. basic thesis is that the world is a-headin' for the end of cappyism OH NOS--toward something that looks like NSDAP/USSR/FDR (see what he did there?). dullness for dullards.

thing is, everyone has management. it's not inconsistent with socialist principles at all to be a manager, as management of property is a different thing than ownership
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Darcy
Managerialism is the soul-destroying 'ism' which haunts our daily lives. One can see why Orwell was so fascinated with Burnham's work and thinking. ...more
Steve
Dec 18, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Managerial Revolution is a helpful book in several respects.

1. It aids in the understanding of Burnham's subsequent work. He wrote it during his personal break with Trotskyist Communism when he concluded dialectical materialism was an insufficient theoretical lens to explain world social and economic developments. Some appear to read this as a conservative diatribe, but Burnham maintains a sort of materialism and pretension toward science from his recent Marxist past. One he sheds some in h
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Kerem
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Overall 4.5 stars.

This is rather an interesting thought experiment, indicating a potential third way for the future coming, despite the then prevailing capitalism and socialism. Written in the depressing early years of the second world war, Burnham observes a growing managerial elite slowly taking over the society in a similar fashion to how capitalists took over from the feudal lords. Although on the surface the book's forecasts did not realize and we're living in a neoliberal world, there is p
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Paul
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
wonderfully readable speculation on the future of modern political economy written at the outbreak of WWII. the timing makes it all the more fascinating as a historical artifact. Burnham's scathing critique of both capitalism and socialism is refreshing. his dread of the managerial age is prescient. much to think about...
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Krishna Avendaño
La futurología o el mal congénito de las ciencias sociales, en este caso la filosofía política. No es un riesgo menor pergeñar semejantes libros: devenir profeta o engrosar la lista de bufones que creyeron ver, con sus limitados ojos humanos, los hilos de la historia.
Andrew Quinn
Jan 30, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting

A politically technical subject covered with great clarity. Hard to believe it was written as long ago as 1940. Well worth a read.
Edward Welsch
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is book contains James Burnham's vastly influential, if somewhat overlooked today, 1941 book on his theory of the managerial revolution, in which he posited that the coming transition in society is not a socialistic revolution, but the coming of "managerialism" to replace capitalism.

I had the great privilege to discuss this book in the winter of 2020 on the Mises Institute's books podcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwHkX....
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Eric Sexton
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Directionally correct. Incorrect on some details. You must understand this book to understand the modern world. It's a critical additional to your "filter" on reality. ...more
Steven Peterson
Aug 14, 2010 rated it liked it
The author begins by outlining what is special about this book (Page viii): ". . .'The Managerial Revolution' was the first generalized attempt tat trhe statement of a theory of the modern epoch that cut through the alternative of either capitalism or socialism"

In other words, Burnham is positing yet a third approach. He sees capitalism as compromised and socialism as not likely to represent the future. The Managerial Society is what he sees as looming. Tha managers of organizations will, in his
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Edward Waverley
Jun 01, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rushdoony
"The first effect of limited liability was the progressive separation of ownership from responsibility, of management from property. Burnham called it the 'managerial revolution,' without analyzing its origins in limited liability." - Rousas John Rushdoony, The Politics of Guilt and Pity, 1970 ...more
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James Burnham was an American popular political theorist, best known for his influential work The Managerial Revolution, published in 1941. Burnham was a radical activist in the 1930s and an important factional leader of the American Trotskyist movement. In later years, as his thinking developed, he left Marxism and produced his seminal work The Managerial Revolution. He later turned to conservati ...more

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