Man, Work, and Society: A Reader in the Sociology of Occupations

By Sigmund Nosow; William H. Form | Go to book overview

gain in losing patience with a conjunction of circumstances. And it can do no harm to take stock of the situation and recognize that, by force of circumstance, it is now open to the Council of Technological Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies to make the next move, in their own way and in their own good time. When and what this move will be, if any, or even what it will be like, is not something on which a layman can hold a confident opinion. But so much seems clear, that the industrial dictatorship of the captain of finance is now held on sufferance of the engineers and is liable at any time to be discontinued at their discretion, as a matter of convenience.


3. THE THEORY OF THE MANAGERIAL REVOLUTION ·

James Burnham

We are now in a position to state in a preliminary way the theory of the managerial revolution, the theory which provides the answer to our central problem.

The theory holds, to begin with, that we are now in a period of social transition, . . . a period characterized, that is, by an unusually rapid rate of change of the most important economic, social, political, and cultural institutions of society. This transition is from the type of society which we have called capitalist or bourgeois to a type of society which we shall call managerial.

This transition period may be expected to be short compared with the transition from feudal to capitalist society. It may be dated, somewhat arbitrarily, from the First World War, and may be expected to close, with the consolidation of the new type of society, by approximately fifty years from then, perhaps sooner.

I shall now use the language of the "struggle for power" to outline the remaining key assertions of the theory:

What is occurring in this transition is a drive for social dominance, for power and privilege, for the position of ruling class, by the social group or class of the managers (as I shall call them, reserving for the moment an explanation of whom this class includes). This drive will be successful. At the conclusion of the transition period the managers will, in fact, have achieved social dominance, will be the ruling class in society. This drive, moreover, is worldwide in extent, already well advanced in all nations, though at different levels of development in different nations.

The economic framework in which this social dominance of the managers will be assured is based upon the state ownership of the major instruments of production. Within this framework there will be no direct property rights in the major instruments of production vested in individuals as individuals.

How, then, it will be at once asked (and this is the key to the whole

-388-

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