to win and hold the White House, theneconomic, fiscal, and regulatory policiesnof the 1980’s gave these veryngroups a fat lip, while allowing thencorporate rich, a cadre of feloniousnfinancial wizards, and a select band ofnwell-fed “conservative populists” to becomenopulent. Mr. Phillips buttressesnthis argument with the same kind ofnstatistical megatonnage that has madenhis other books so formidable, and henhas framed it in a breezy style rich withnanecdotes that lend life to his numbers.nHere the reader nostalgic for then80’s may trip down memory’s lane tonsuch triumphs of “populism” as MalcolmnForbes’s birthday party in 1989,ncomplete with Moroccan horsemen.nHere he may revisit such glowing symbolsnof Mr. Reagan’s Augustan age asnthe teeth of Ivan Boesky, the modestncouture of Nancy, and the culturalnrenaissance spawned by the babynboomers. Here too the reader maynglimpse through the glory of the Reaganitendawn such misty vestiges of thenold America as family farms now repossessednby banks and sold to corporationsnin New York and Japan, minesnand factories now closed, and endlessntracts of American land and buildingsnonce actually owned by Americansnthemselves.nBut to be quite fair, Mr. Phillipsnrather exaggerates the economic damagento the American middle class in thenReagan era. He acknowledges that thenreal losers in those years were largelynconfined to certain categories —n”manufacturing employees, farmers,npeople in the oil industry, youngnhouseholders and the working poor”n— while others held steady or madensmall gains. The latter, however, werenable to do so largely because their wivesnleft home and went to work and becausenthey simply worked harder tonkeep afloat. From 1973 to 1987, Mr.nPhillips points out, Americans’ leisurentime actually fell by 37 percent fromn26.2 hours a week to 16.6 hours, whilenthe real average weekly wage of allnworkers (white collar and blue collar)ndeclined from $191.41 a week in 1972nto $171.07 in 1986 in terms of constantn1977 dollars. “Many families,”nhe writes,nfound themselves emptyingnsavings accounts and going intondebt, often to meet the soaringn32/CHRONICLESnprice of homeownership or tonput a child throughncollege. . . . Homeownershipnhad reached a record 65 percentnof U.S. households in 1980,nafter climbing steadily fromn1940, when 43.6 percent ofnhouseholds owned their ownnresidences. After 1980, however,nthe homeownership rate wouldndrop year by year, falling ton63.8 percent in 1986 andnleveling off. Young people, innparticular, found that homenbuying was next to impossible.nFor much of MiddlenAmerica, then, the Reagan yearsnwere troubling and ambiguousnas the contrast intensifiednbetween proliferating billionairesnand the tens of millions ofnothers who were graduallynsinking.nMr. Phillips frames much of this economicnanalysis and what he calls “plutography”n— a neologism that seems destinednto enter the language as easily asnhis earlier coinage, “Sunbelt” — innterms of his historical theory of Americannpolitics. Hence, there is much analogizingnbetween the Reagan era andnthose of William McKinley and then1920’s. “Each Republican coalition,”nhe writes, “began by emphasizing nationalnthemes and unity symbols whilensubordinating commercial and financialninterests. Lincoln’s struggle to maintainnthe union is famous, but lesser efforts bynMcKinley in 1896 and Nixon in 1968ngo little noticed.” But the phase ofnappealing to “national unity” usuallyndoesn’t last long once the GOP sets upnshop in the White House. “Beyond itsnemphasis on the politics of nahonalnunity, dynamic capitalism, market economicsnand the concentration of wealthnare what the Republican party is allnabout. When Republicans are in powernlong enough, that is what America gets,nby the traditional Republican methodsnof disinflation, limited government, lessnregulation of business, reduced taxationnand high interest rates.”nMr. Phillips may or may not be onnstrong ground in his analogical theory.nLike most historical interpretations, it isnone that can never be proved and mustnbe tested by its ability to explain knownnfacts. Moreover, even if it is true, it maynreveal the outer mechanics of Americannnnpolitical history, but it doesn’t reallyngrasp the world-historical drift of what isnhappening in the United States and thenworld in the last part of the 20thncentury.nWhat Mr. Phillips is really talkingnabout, though he may not knownit, is not just the ebb and flow of politicalnparties in the White House and Congress,nbut rather the continuing civilizationalncrisis, in its economic and politicalnphases, of what James Burnham calledn”the managerial revolution.” The liquidationnof the middle class and its bourgeoisncultural order are essential parts ofnthat revolution, which does not consistnonly in its material dimension of thenrolling up of comparatively smallnowner-operated business enterprisesnand farming units by colossal corporatenorganizations and the replacement ofnlocal, legislative, and constitutionalistngovernment by centralized, executive,nbureaucratic regimes. It also consists, innits cultural dimension, in the delegitimizationnand eventual extirpation of bourgeoisnculture — first on the grounds thatnthat culture is the product of a selfishn”capitalist” oligarchy, and later, in ournown times, that it is the institutionalnframework by which a “white, male,nheterosexual. Christian” ruling classnmaintains cultural hegemony. Thentechnically skilled managerial elites thatnhold power in corporations, unions,nuniversities, mass media, foundations,nand government cannot secure andnenhance their dominance without alsonundermining the cultural basis of bourgeoisnpower, which acts as a constraintnon the power of the new elite.nWhile Mr. Phillips sees Americannhistory in terms of a never-ending conflictnbetween “elite” and “populist”nforces, it is perhaps more accurate to seenit in terms of a conflict of one elitenagainst another. The Progressive Movementnand the New Deal represent thenemergence of a managerial elite thatnholds power through its expertise in thentechnical and administrative skills thatnenable it to operate and control overgrownnorganizations in the state, economy,nand culture and that makes use ofnwhat has come to be known as “liberalism”nto justify its challenge to a bourgeoisnelite that seized national power innthe Civil War and its aftermath. Havingnentrenched themselves in political, economic,nand cultural power by the end ofn