The question of ‘social innovation’ is really the core of the leftist project, or projects…The idea of ‘revolution’ (versus piecemeal ‘evolution’) is that of creating an innovated social construct based on new and more rational principles. The idea of technological innovation is thus too limited for understanding the real importance of innovation in cultural development. And the idea that piecemeal ‘evolution’ can construct a superior successor is highly debatable, and visibly false if we look at the way that the idea of free markets disguised behind an ideology of slow ‘evolution’ has actually distorted and degraded social institutions, let alone evolved them to a new innovative level.
The left needs to consider the importance of innovation in its own idea set: there is too much dependence on the original work of Marx/Engels, with any attempt at innovation being a challenge to some orthodoxy. Neither Marx nor Engels solved the problem of the social innovations needed to create a postcapitalism, for good reason they thought, but now it may be more constructive to plan in advance the formats of postcapitalist economies to find the right combinations for an innovative economic reality.
One reason that the Bolshevik revolution(s) were so chaotic is that they were just as much ad hoc as the free market realm they wished to leave behind. And that made the experiment fail because it had no plan, and was forced to sacrifice freedom not just to realize something new but more because the complexity of a real solution was not prepared in advance. The factors of freedom and control need to be given in advance in order to assuage the obvious paranoia that greets all discussions of communism now. The transition needs a ‘decision procedure’ that can be observed and reported on by outside agents.