In This Review

The Second Industrial Divide
The Second Industrial Divide
By Michael J. Piore and Charles F. Sabel
Basic Books, 1984, 355 pp

If mass production is to continue to be the dominant mode of industry, world markets will have to be stabilized and integrated, and shares in expanded capacity rationed, according to this book. Alternatively, the emphasis can shift to "flexible specialization" in which firms use general-purpose tools to produce a variety of special-purpose articles. Is this a real choice? Must every country make it? In explaining why they pose the issue the authors, who teach at MIT, deploy a remarkable range of historical and contemporary evidence drawn from many countries. They undertake rather too much, and are not always convincing. But they usually draw back from carrying arguments too far and have produced a most challenging and interesting book.