A great deal of the debate about strategies for public management reform in the developing and emerging economies of the world reminds me of debates in the Marxist movement at the start of the 20th century about whether or not countries had to go through certain “stages” of development.

The traditional Marxist view held that countries had to go through various stages of development as the logic of history unfolded – i.e. from hunter-gatherers, to primitive agrarianism, to feudalism, to bourgeois democracy, to socialism and thence communism.

A minority view emerged after the failed 1905 Russian revolution that in some cases there could be a ‘permanent revolution’ – some countries could leap-frog stages – e.g. from feudalism to socialism, as allegedly happened later in the 1917 Russian revolution. Read more