The Managerial Revolution: What Went Wrong?

Apr 18, 2024May 2, 2024
Gavin House
1220 E 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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This event is sponsored by the Lumen Christi Institute’s Nicklin Fellows Program, which supports and encourages University of Chicago undergraduate students to develop their intellectual maturity. Max Baumeister, who designed this program, is a 2023-2024 Nicklin Fellow. This program is for undergraduate students only.


“[James Burnham] has real intellectual courage, and writes about real issues,” wrote George Orwell. Chicago native, prominent Trotskyist early in his intellectual life, student of J. R. R. Tolkien at Oxford, and recommended by George Kennan during WWII to work at the Office of Strategic Services (predecessor of the CIA), to say James Burnham was an interesting man would be an understatement. Burnham is best known for his book The Managerial Revolution (1941) in which he claimed that (1) capitalism would be displaced not by communism or socialism but by “managerialism” and (2) FDR’s The New Deal, the Soviet Union, and Fascism in Europe were all part of the same centralizing, bureaucratic trend that was—and perhaps still is—happening all over the globe. Was he right? How applicable is his theory in the 21st century?


This group will meet on Thursdays (April 4-May 2) from 6:00pm - 730pm over dinner.