If you have time, check out this lengthy article at American Affairs. I will not get into an historical discussion of its author, nor give a detailed summary of its contents, as it is too long. The gist of it is that James Burnham predicted our current society decades ago and warned of its inherent flaws. He termed it a managerial society. It’s not communism. It’s not capitalism. It’s a society run by managers, both corporate and government, for their own good.
Burnham really nailed it in his diagnosis. Donald Trump won largely by railing against not only liberal elites in government but also business elites who side with them. Both political parties, the banks, and the major corporations do not really compete or represent different interests. They collaborate with each other to reach a consensus that is agreeable to them and their fellow managerial elite. The politicians are not bought and sold. That would indicate that at one point they actually represented the people. They are part of the managerial elite, chosen from with the managerial elites of their parties to act as go-betweens for the corporate lobby and the Deep State on one hand and us dumb rubes on the other.
The reason the legacy media and other people in their bubble had not idea that Donald Trump was going to win was because they truly do live insulated lives, where they only talk to other people within the managerial elite. This is not news. All of us have drawn this conclusion years ago. The reason Burnham’s writings are so important now is because he identified the behaviors and objectives of these people, and the pitfalls of such a system.
These people like to describe themselves as “nonpartisan” and act like they are “above petty politics.” In a sense that is true; they do not care who wins elections because they seek power independently of civil authority and are interested only in advancing the interests of themselves and their fellow travelers. Actually managing anything to the benefit of society at large is at best secondary.
The rise of the managerial class (which includes the Deep State) has probably caused irreparable harm to our society because it has decoupled ownership from property and government from the governed. Think of it this way: We put our money in retirement funds in an attempt to increase our personal ability to consume, but where is that money, and who controls it? We have little control over it once we put it in the fund, and the companies in which it is invested have substantial control over it despite the fact that we are theoretically the owners. Think of most big companies nowadays. They are owned by investors with little power, and run by managers in ways that are in the managers’ best interests. Who cares about the long-term viability of a company, the quality of its service, or the speed at which it innovates? These guys do what they have to in order to drive up stock prices to keep the stock options and bonuses heading their way. They cooperate with their “competition” and collude with the government to work out “heads-I-win-tales-you-lose” deals rather than expose themselves to normal market forces. The 2008 meltdown is a prime example.
While many of these organizations may have at one time served legitimate functions, they are now chiefly engaged in self-perpetuation, self-enrichment, and self-aggrandizement. Their actions serve only to increase the wealth and clout of their particular sector of the corporate-government complex, largely without improving their output in terms of goods and services or prudent management for society.
The good news is they actually suck horribly at these goals and are bound to collapse in the face of actual competition from elsewhere and increasing Islamic terrorism. The bad news is they might decide to dispense with the Constitution and rights since they think we are worthless anyway, and our way of life is just a nuisance which they must work around.
Ever catch someone red-handed and they refuse to admit they did anything wrong? Ever know someone who consistently talked out of their ass and refused to admit that they had said the things they actually said, which had been totally wrong? That’s what the managerial class is like, and that is how they will behave when this all comes crashing down. On the plus side, perhaps they will at that point get an employee feedback evaluation from We the People. Hopefully it will be as ugly as their performance.