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The Managerial Revolution: What Is Happening in the World

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  78 ratings  ·  10 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,
Hardcover, 285 pages
Published April 24th 1972 by Praeger (first published 1941)
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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
Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
Burnham is a conservative thinker and first person to put his finger on the professional-managerial class. These days they are the professionals and managers who run things for the owners. Burnham an old Trotskyist turned towards conservative politics didn't throw away his Marxist tools when he became a conservative. He uses a lot of Marxist analysis on the forensic of Capitalism but rejected the idea that Capitalism's demise would usher in the classless society of the socialist society. He inst ...more
Feb 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
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 wits are 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 ...more
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
Michael Malice
Oct 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
horribly outdated and utterly wrong in all its predictions
Darcy Moore
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.
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
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
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
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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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“Just as we seldom realize that we are growing old until we are already old, so do the contemporary actors in a major social change seldom realize that society is changing until the change has already come.” 7 likes
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