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Martin diverges sharply from past international labor division interpretations of semiperipheral development, emphasizing the importance of each country's individual conditions. His book examples the transformational possibilities of the capitalist system. Several semiperipheral countries are highlighted to advance the theory that only a rare set of conditions can propel a semiperipheral nation to core status. Later chapters show how this dilemma leads to the social and political unrest that is characteristic of semiperipheral nations.