Prophet Sustained

James Burnham and The Managerial Revolution

When National Review published a special obituary issue on James Burnham soon after his death in 1987, perhaps the most remarkable contribution came from the pen of John Kenneth Galbraith. The Harvard economist reminisced about the eager welcome with which he and fellow New Dealers in the Roosevelt administration had received Burnham's The Managerial Revolution: What is Happening in the World when the book was first published in 1941. "Here in lucid detail," wrote Professor Galbraith,

was the full exploration—economic, social, political—of the case Berle and Means had made. Here was the world that Marx's imperative of capitalist concentration had foretold. But here, beyond Marx, was the world in which the capitalist, in turn, had been relegated to a bystander role. The dividends still came; the power had gone. . . .

The Managerial Revolution was widely read and discussed. . . . I was persuaded of its importance by Washington colleagues in 1941 amidst all the pressures of wartime price control, for which I had just assumed responsibility.

Professor Galbraith's recollections are remarkable because it was the central prophecy of The Managerial Revolution that the New Deal was the womb where an embryonic totalitarian order was being hatched, an order of the same nature as similar New Deals in Hitler's Germany...

Join now to access the full article and gain access to other exclusive features.

Get Started

Already a member? Sign in here