Trotsky and leapfrogging

The [Worldchanging](http://www.worldchanging.com) folks often talk about [leapfrogging](http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/001743.html), ‘the notion that areas which have poorly-developed technology or economic bases can move themselves forward rapidly through the adoption of modern systems without going through intermediary steps’. It’s nice to see the same concept in different clothes, in a [book on Trotsky](http://www.newleftreview.org/?page=article&view=2635#_ednref14) (who naturally had the problem of explaining Communism in Russia):
>In appending new forms the backward society takes not their beginnings, nor the stages of their evolution, but the finished product itself. In fact it goes even further; it copies not the product as it exists in its countries of origin but its ‘ideal type’, and it is able to do so for the very reason that it is in a position to append instead of going through the process of development. This explains why the new forms, in a backward society, appear more perfected than in an advanced society where they are approximations only to the ‘ideal’ for having been arrived at piecemeal and with the framework of historical possibilities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *