chapter  7
The Power Transition: A Retrospective and Prospective Evaluation
Pages 24

The power transition theory was introduced in 1958 (Organski 1958), and 30 years seems an appropriate period for an initial evaluation of the scientific worth and staying power of a new idea. In such an evaluation, one can use the Lakatos criteria:

A scientific theory T is falsified if and only if another theory T' has been proposed with the following characteristics: (1) T' has excess empirical content over T: that is, it predicts novel facts, that is, facts improbable in the light of, or even forbidden, by T; (2) T explains the previous success of T, that is, all the unrefuted content of T is included (within the limits of observable error) in the content of T'; and (3) some of the excess content of T' is corroborated. [Lakatos 1978,32]

In such an evaluation two sets of things must be asked. Has the new construct, model, idea, or theory provided an explanation more powerful and more parsimonious than what existed previously? Has this way of looking at the problem proven more valid than the alternatives? One can add questions to the ones already posed. Has the new idea influenced the creation of other ideas and the undertaking of new work? Are such extensions successful? It should be kept in mind that the set of ideas that has

survived the test of time is a very biased sample. The number of good ideas is very small, and among that set many are ignored for reasons other than their intrinsic merit. An evaluation such as this is inevitably reserved for the lucky few that become visible enough to warrant consideration. Yet, not all is simply a matter of luck.