For who are not familiar with James Burham’s 1941 classic, it is a must read if you want to understand modern institutions.
‘Burnham has real intellectual courage, and writes about real issues.’ – George Orwell
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, nor by socialism, but by the rule of administartors in business and in government.
This revolution, he posited, is as broad as the world and as comprehensive as human society, asking “Why is ‘totalitarianism’ not the issue?” “Can civilization be destroyed?” And “Why is the New Deal something bigger than Roosevelt can handle?”
In a volume extraordinary for its dispassionate handling of those and other fundamental questions, James Burnham explores fully the implications of the managerial revolution.
Praise for James Burnham:
‘The stoic, detached, empirical, hard-boiled, penetrating, realist mind of James Burnham is something to behold, to admire, to emulate.’ – National Review
‘James Burnham was an astonishing writer. Subtle, passionate, and irritatingly well-read.’ – New Criterion
‘The immense significance of Burnham’s approach is potential. We can ignore it only at the risk of being disarmed by the future course of events.’ – Irving Kristol
James Burnham was an American popular political theorist. 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 turned to conservatism, serving as a public intellectual of the conservative movement. He also wrote regularly for the conservative publication National Review on a variety of topics.