The Rostovian take-off model (also called "Rostow's Stages of Growth") is one of the major historical models of economic growth. It was developed by Walt Whitman Rostow. The model postulates that economic modernization occurs in five basic stages, of varying length.
1. Traditional society
2. Preconditions for take-off
4. Drive to maturity
5. Age of High mass consumption
Traditional societies are marked by their pre-Newtonian understanding and use of technology. These are societies which have pre-scientific understandings of gadgets, and believe that gods or spirits facilitate the procurement of goods, rather than man and his own ingenuity. The norms of economic growth are completely absent from these societies.
Preconditions to Take-off
The preconditions to take-off are, to Rostow, that the society begins committing itself to secular education, that it enables a degree of capital mobilization, especially through the establishment of banks and currency, that an entrepreneurial class forms, and that the secular concept of manufacturing develops, with only a few sectors developing at this point. This leads to a take-off in ten to fifty years. At this stage, there is a limited production function, and therefore a limited output. There are limited economic techniques available and these restrictions create a limit to what can be produced.
Take-off then occurs when sector led growth becomes common and society is driven more by economic processes than traditions. At this point, the norms of economic growth are well established. In discussing the take-off, Rostow's is a noted early adopter of the term “transition”, which is to describe the passage of a traditional to a modern economy. After take-off, a country will take as long as fifty to one hundred years to reach maturity.
Drive to Maturity
The drive to maturity refers to the need for the economy itself to diversify. The sectors of the economy which lead initially begin to level off, while other sectors begin to take off. This diversity leads to greatly reduced rates of poverty and rising standards of living, as the society no longer needs to sacrifice its comfort in order to strengthen certain sectors.
Age of High Mass Consumption
The age of high mass consumption refers to the period of contemporary comfort afforded many western nations, wherein consumers concentrate on durable goods, and hardly remember the subsistence concerns of previous stages. Rostow uses the Buddenbrooks dynamics metaphor to describe this change in attitude. In Thomas Mann’s novel, Buddenbrooks, a family is chronicled for three generations. The first generation is interested in economic development, the second in its position in society. The third, already having money and prestige, concerns itself with the arts and music, worrying little about those previous, earthly concerns. So too, in the age of high mass consumption, a society is able to choose between concentrating on military and security issues, on equality and welfare issues, or on developing great luxuries for its upper class. Each country in this position chooses its own balance between these three goals.
From Wiki, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rostovian_take-off_model