The University of Wisconsin Press

Political Science / Economics & Business / Philosophy


The Emergence of a New Ideology
Willard F. Enteman

“Political, economic, and social realities have changed; it is time for political philosophy, social principles, and economic theories to change.”
—Willard F. Enteman

As capitalist countries continue to celebrate the demise of socialism, Willard F. Enteman makes the startling assertion that capitalism has already ended. Additionally, Enteman argues that industrialized nations are not democratic either. In Managerialism, Enteman explores the fundamental principles of the three dominant world ideologies—capitalism, socialism, and democracy—and proposes that a new ideology, which he calls “managerialism,” more accurately describes the current world situation.

Managerialism, according to Enteman, is the ideological principle on which the economic, social, and political order of advanced industrialized societies is actually based. It recognizes that managers are the central figures of this new order. Enteman proposes that society is made up of organizations, corporations, associations, and so forth—not individuals. Social decisions are a consequence of the interactions of the managers of the social units—not the will of the people, the demands of consumers, or the needs of workers. Individuals have an effect on society only through their participation in groups. As Enteman writes, “Effectively, there is no direct linkage between social choice and individual preferences. At the same time, there is no identifiable overarching social personality.”

If managerialism has, as Enteman asserts, become the dominant ideology, it is time to respond to the immense implications of this realization. He doubts that managerialism—unlike capitalism, socialism, and democracy—can be given a rational moral defense, but suggests that before attempting to defend, attack, or revise it, we should understand it. Enteman concludes his book by examining the implications of managerialism in terms of new directions for economic theory, business, and business ethics.

Managerialism rests upon the notion that ‘the society (nation) is nothing more than the summation of the decisions and transactions which have been made by the managements of the organizations.’ This ideology replaces both capitalism and socialism as the fundamental force shaping the character of the major business and non-business organizations in the contemporary world. It transcends national boundaries, and what is more, ‘presents a lethal challenge to democracy because it discounts the importance of the individual in general and, more specifically, it discounts the importance of voting in regard to social choice.’”—Albert A. Anderson, Babson College

Willard F. Enteman is professor of philosophy, Rhode Island College. He is the author of Retirement 101, published by the University of Wisconsin Press, and editor of The Problem of Free Will.

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Cover is purple with ripped lines of green and mauve

September 1993

LC: 93-007444 HD
272 pp. 6 x 9
5 charts/graphs

Both the paper edition ISBN 978-0-299-13924-7 and the cloth edition ISBN 978-0-299-13920-9 are currently out of print.

Managerialism is a fascinating and most useful review of sociological, philosophical and economic history, focused around the ideas—the ideology—used to justify business activity in the West during the last 300 years. He understands and demonstrates the importance of ideology and ideological thinking to the analysis of the behavior of communities.”
—George Lodge, Harvard University

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Updated January 31, 2013

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