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A Survey of Recent Articles
During the past year, as the U.S. push for war in Iraq sent Western Europeans' favorable opinion of the United States into free fall, there was one think piece about the transatlantic divide that had chatter- ing-class tongues wagging on both sides of the ocean-and it was written by an American, Robert Kagan. "On major strategic and inter- national questions today, Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus," asserted Kagan, a senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His lengthy essay, "Power and Weakness," was pub- lished first in Policy Review (June-July 2002), then as a book, Ofparadise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order (2003). "Europe is turning away from power," pre- ferring to dwell in "a self-contained world of laws and rules and transnational negotiation and cooperation," Kagan argued. "It is enter- ing a posthistorical paradise of peace and rela- tive prosperity, the realization of Kant's 'Per- petual Peace.'" The United States, by contrast, continues to exercise power in "the anarchic Hobbesian world where international laws and rules are unreliable and where true security and the defense and promotion of a liberal order still depend on the possession and use of military might." As Europe seeks to export its "perpetual peace" to the rest of the world, America's power-which has made Europe's "new Kantian order" possible, and now sus- tains it-stands in the way.
In the past, when the United States was weak and the European great powers were strong, their strategic perspectives were re-versed, Kagan contended. Now, the United States "behaves as powerful nations do," while the European nations employ "the strategies of weakness." Europeans' new outlook, with its emphasis on diplomacy, commerce, interna- tional law, and multilateralism, reflects "a con- scious rejection of the European past, a rejec- tion of the evils of European machtpolitik."
Hailing Kagan's thesis in Commentary (June 2003), British political analyst David Pryce- Jones asserts that it "outlines the shape of the fu-ture. . . . Unable or unwilling to recapture greatness through power, Europe has no choice but to resort to the tools of the weak."
But some strong critiques of Kagan's provocative thesis have begun to appear as well. Is Europe really "weak," just because it spends less than America on defense? "Europe is not planning to assert military hegemony over the world, nor is it expecting an American military invasion," observes David P. Calleo, a professor of European studies at Johns Hopkins University's Nitze School of Advanced Inter- national Studies, in The National Interest (Summer 2003). Europe's smaller military budget, he writes, may simply reflect more liin- ited aims and greater fiscal ~rudence. Even at that, Britain, France, and Germany spent a con~bined total of about $90 billion on na- tional defense last year-more than Russia, China, or Japan. Perhaps the United States, at $350 billion, is spending too much?
"Military clout is not the appropriate way to measure the European contribution7' to America (or to NATO), argues Richard Rosecrance, a political scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, also writ- ing in The National Interest (Summer 2003). "Without the [financial] help of Europe and Japan, the United States could not have un- dertaken or sustained its frequent internation- al military operations." Since the late 1960s, Europe has repeatedly come to the financial rescue of the United States, allowing it "to maintain an essentially unbalanced economy while acting as the world's gendarme." Both Europe and America are powerful, Rosecrance maintains, but they "act in different spheres- and they desperately need each other."
In The New Republic (June 16, 2003), meanwhile, economist Philippe Legrain musters statistics to show that Europe is the economic equal of the United States-and is soon likely to outpace it. And columnist Andrew Sullivan notes, without pleasure, that the European Union's ongoing consti- tutional reform could soon make it a formi- dable political competitor.
The European preference for shaping the world through "soft power" (economic influ- ence, diplomacy, and culture) may indeed re- quire U.S. "hard power" to keep "the world's bullies and gangsters" in line, Calleo acknowl- edges. But even a superpower's military might is of limited use against an enemy armed with nuclear weapons, and the Bush administra- tion's aggressive campaign against the spread of weapons of mass destruction "runs a high risk of being self-defeating. Relatively weak countries, targeted as 'rogue states' and repeatedly threat- ened with military attack, are naturally desper- ate to achieve the deterrence that only weapons of mass destruction can provide."
Writing in The New York Review of Books (Apr. 10, 2003), Tony Judt, director of the Remarque Institute at New York University, challenges the basic assumptions behind Kagan's analysis. "Kagan repeatedly labels 'Hobbesian' the international anarchy that he in- vokes to justify America's muscular unilateralism," says Judt. "But this is a crass misreading of [Thomas] Hobbes's position." The 17th-century "argued that the very laws of nature that threaten to make men's lives 'soli- tary, poor, nasty, brutal, and short' require us to form a common authority for our separate and collective protection." By analogy, Judt argues, states in a Hobbesian world "would come to- gether out of their shared interest in security, relinquishing some autonomy and freedom in return for the benefits of a secure environment in which to pursue their separate concerns. This was the genuinely 'Hobbesian' solution devised by the American statesmen of a11 earli- er generation, who built the international in- stitutions that Kagan would now tear asunder."
As for the Europeans' supposed "Kantian paradise," Judt continues, "Kagan has forgotten the very recent past, in which European infantrymen died on peacekeeping missions in Asia, Africa, and Europe while American generals forswore foreign ground wars lest U.S. soldiers get killed. IfAmericans are from Mars, they rediscovered the martial virtues rather recently." Kagan's contention that "weaker powers" historically seek to use international structures to constrain stronger powers is also "misleac1- ing," Judt maintains. The United Nations and other contemporary international agencies "were the work of strong powers-notably the U.S. By ~~niversalizing
and institutionalizing their own interests, great powers have a much better chance of convincing others to do their bidding, and can reduce the risk of provoking a 'coalition of the unwilling' against them."
Since Kagan's essay appeared a year ago, it has been "endlessly quoted in all European capitals," observes British scholar Timothy Garton Ash in The New Statesman (June 16, 2003). He notes the irony: "So it's not just that our fast food, films, fashion, and language are American. Even our debates about Europe itself are American-led."
Whatever the outcome of the debate over geopolitical strategy, America's influence in Europe remains immense. "To be European today," writes Ash, who is director of the Euro- pean Studies Centre at St. Antony's College, Oxford, is "to be deeply intertwined with America-culturally, socially, economically, in- tellectually, politically." This is so, he says, "whether we like it or not (and I do like it)."
Security vs. Liberty?
"Can We Be Secure and Free?" by Thomas F. Powers, in The Public Interest (Spring 2003), 1112 16th St., N.W., Ste. 140,Washington, D.C. 20036,
The expansion of police powers in America since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, has civil libertarians crying out about the loss of liberty-and conservatives invoking the need for security. But the debate has been wrongly framed and is needlessly divisive, argues Powers, a political scientist at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.
The American Civil Liberties Union and kindred groups have strongly criticized the Bush administration on a number of points, including "extraordinary detention, the civil rights of nonciti- zens, government se- crecy, and the treat- ment of terrorist captives outside the United States." But most of the contro-versy has been about "due process" issues, Powers says. The biggest concern of civil liberties advo-cates is that the 2001 USA Patriot Act and other measures have made it easier for government agencies "to conduct surveil- lance, use wiretaps and searches, obtain access to personal records, and track and question designated groups," such as Arab and Muslim non-citizens.
Change in these areas was inevitable, Powers writes. Terrorism, by bringing war to American soil, and by requiring local police forces to join the military in what amounts to war fighting, requires fresh thinking about civil liberties. But by pit- ting liberty and security against each other, Powers contends, "the current de- bate has exaggerated disagreement and launched a dialectic of mutual recrimina- tion and mistrust, now elevated to the level of 'constitutional' conflict." The result is "a pointless game of blame-casting that reawakens the old partisan divisions of the Vietnam era."
"Liberty" is not threatened only by abus- es of the police and other state agents, and "security" is not threatened only by crimi-
nals and external enemies, Powers points out. As James Madison, John Locke, and Montesquieu understood, liberty and se- curity are bound up together. "Every threat, from whatever source, is as much a threat to our liberty as it is to our securi-
ty." To assume a basic conflict between the two is "to misunderstand the essential logic of liberal politics," says Powers. "In a liberal republic, liberty presupposes secu- rity; the point of security is liberty."
The current debate should be recast around the need to balance "one threat to liberty against other threats to liberty, one threat to security against other threats to security," he says. That would not make the difficult choices involved easier, but it would permit us to make them more clearly and without fearing that we are being either unprincipled or softheaded."
How Labor Can Be Big Again
"Organizing Power: The Prospects for an American Labor Movement" by Margaret Levi.
in Perspectives on Politics (Mar. 2003),American Political Science Assn.,
1527 New Hampshire Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036-1206.
Can organized labor recover its politi- entist at the University of Washington. "In cal mojo? "Big Labor" was once feared order for organized labor to play its critical role and courted by politicians because it rep- as a countervailing power within the Amer- resented more than 33 percent of the na- ican political system, there must be intensi- tion's wage and salary workers. Today or- fied organizing, internal democratization, ganized labor is often regarded as just increased electoral and lobbying clout, and another special-interest group, represent- social-moven~ent unions willing to n~obilize ing, Levi notes, "only 13.5 percent of all with others and, if necessary, on the streets." wage and salary workers" and "only nine A study last year, con~missioned by the percent of private-sector wage and salary AFL-CIO, found that there has been a workers." (Unions had their highest ab- surge of support for union representation solute number of members, 20.2 million, in since 1984, when 110 more than 3 5 percent 1978; by 2001, that number had declined of nonunionized workers wanted a union. to 16.3 million.) Nonetheless, she is hope- Now, 50 percent do. To boost their rolls, ful about the future of unions and believes Levi contends, unions must do more than that they are vital to democracy. try to improve members' paychecks, bene-
Labor needs "to become once again a so- fits, and working conditions. They must cial movement," argues Levi, a political sci- also encourage members to get involved in
Opinions of the founding generation were scattered all across the spectrum on the question of the assistance government could give religion. Consider the Baptists, the most ardent separationists in the Founding Era. Some Baptists in Massachusetts and Maryland actually favored selective state financial subsidies for churches; others, while disapproving financial support, encouraged the state to print and distribute bibles; Virginia Baptists opposed both measures but were happy to accept public ac- commodations for church services. Presbyterians were divided over state financial as- sistance to churches, as were political leaders in virtually every state. Statesmen like George Washington changed their minds on the issue. James Madison participated intermittently in public religious acts for 30 years, i.e., in issuing religious proclama- tions, which in the privacy of retirement he deplored. Jefferson permitted church ser- vices to be held in federal office buildings but was accused of hypocrisy for doing so.
Confronted by opinions so diverse and problematic, the best scholarship can be of only limited assistance in supplying the "correct" answer about the framers' precise intentions regarding government assistance to religion -a painful conclusion for a supporter of the "jurisprudence of original intent." Yet, according to a Massachusetts commentator in 1780, the meaning of the term "establishment of religion" was even then "prodigiously obscure." If so, do today's judges not deserve a degree of sympathy as they try to tease out the intentions of the drafters and ratifiers of the First Amendment?
-James H. Hutson, chief of the manuscript division at the Library of Congress, and author of Religion and the Founding of the American Republic (1998), in Claremont Review of Books (Spring 2003)
"larger issues of democratization (within the union and within the larger polity), so- cial justice, and economic equality. . , . Members pay dues and strike but are also ex- pected to mobilize on behalf of causes be- yond their own." Such "social-movement" unions, Levi maintains, "tend to be de- mocratic and participatory."
Since their election in 1995, AFL-CIO president John Sweeney and his "New Voices" colleagues have been shaking up the labor union bureaucracy, says Levi. "Redefining its program through action," the AFL-CIO has gotten involved in cam- paigns against sweatshops and for "global justice" and a "living wage." About 80 cities and counties around the country have enacted "living wage" ordinances, obliging contractors to pay wages that are usually above the federal minimum.
Levi believes that the "fresh vitality" she detects in American unions has come none too soon. Unions "offer collective influ- ence to those who lack individual clout in important political and economic do-mains," and, for that reason, they're "es- sential to a vigorous American democracy." If unions "mobilize as a social movement," she says, they'll be better able to get that message across.
Germany and ~a~anÃ?â??an
"Occupational Hazards" by Douglas Porch, in The National Interest (Summer 2003), 1615 L St., N.W., Ste. 1230,Washington,D.C. 20036.
Some proponents of preventive war in the United States turned Germany and Iraq suggested that postwar nation-building Japan into model democracies after World after the war would be a snap. Look at how War 11. But the task, in fact, wasn't so easy
No cheering: Japanese officials oversee an American-backed election during the 1950s.
Summer 2003 89
then, and it will be even harder in Iraq, argues Porch, a professor of national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.
"The truth is that a full decade after World War 11's finale, many U.S. 'natioii- builders' considered their efforts a nearly complete failure-and for good reason," lie writes. In surveys taken at the time, a inajor- ity of Germans said that their country's "'best time in recent history had been during the first years of the Nazis.'" Instead of grat- itude and an enthusiastic embrace of democracy, U.S. reformers in Germany and Japan "encountered torpor, resentment, and resistance," says Porch.
During the 1950s and 1960s, both the Germans and the Japanese overcame their resentment, and the two nations evolved into flourishing, peace-loving democracies. But that resulted less from Allied occupation policies, Porch says, than from various other factors, including "enlightened political leadership, 'economic miracles' spurred by the Marshall Plan in Europe and the Korean War in Japan, and the precedent, however frail, of functioning democratic government in both countries." The Germans and the Japanese were talented, technologically ad- vanced peoples, eager to put the devastating war behind them. "Above all, though, fear of the Soviets caused leaders in both countries, supported by their to take shel- ter under the U.S. military unibrella."
"Post-Saddam Iraq is a poor candidate to replicate the success of Japan and Ger- many," Porch maintains. "Though once a relatively tolerant, society, Iraq has become a fractured, impoverished country, its people susceptible to hysteria and fanati- cism. They are historically difficult to mobi- lize behind a common national vision, and no Yoshida Sliigeru or Konrad Adeiiauer can be expected to emerge from a ruling class that inclines toward demagogy and corrup- tion." Despite the problem Iran poses for Iraq, there's no equivalent of the Soviet Union to induce Iraqis to welcome U.S. pro- tection. And "as for prewar experiences of Iraqi democracy, there are none."
When most U.S. forces came home after World War 11, the task of running Germany and Japan was, in effect, "swiftly turned over to the locals" in each country, says Porch, "with the U.S. military retaining vague su- pervisory powers." In Iraq, by contrast, "a large U.S. garrison" is likely to be necessary for "the foreseeable future," inevitably arous- ing further resentment.
Learning from the mistakes of the de-nazi- fication effort in Germany, the United States should let the Iraqis "carry out their own 'de- Baathification lite,' complete with war crimes trials of Saddam's top henchmen." Instead of conducting "an invasive campaign of democ- ratization and cultural engineering," U.S. na- tion-builders should aim "to 'normalize' Iraq fairly quickly by putting a responsible leadership cadre in place while retaining a supervisory role with enough soldiers to back it up," thus pre- venting the country from sliding into chaos.
The U.S.-British reconstruction of Iraq will be "neither brief nor cheap," Porch says, but, "with any luck," it will succeed eventually, as re- construction succeeded eventually in Ger- many and Japan,
"Why the Security Council Failed" by Michael J. Glennon, in Foreign Affairs (May-June2003), 58 E. 68th St., New York, N.Y. 10021.
The dramatic rupture of the United Nations Security Council over Iraq earlier this year made evident that the grand dream ofthe UN's founders-subjecting the use of force to the rule of law-had failed. But the fault lay not with the United States or France or other member nations, argues Glennon, a professor of international law at Tufts University's Fletcher School. Rather, it lay with underlying geopolitical forces "too strong for a legalist institution to with- stand."
Given the recent evolution of the inter- national system, the Security Council's failure was "largely inexorable," Glennon says. Well before the debate over con-fronting Iraq, world power had shifted to- ward "a configuration that was simply in- compatible with the way the UN was meant to function. It was the rise of American ~inipolarity-not the Iraq cri- sis-that, along with cultural clashes and different attitudes toward the use of force, gradually eroded the council's credibility."
In response to the emerging U.S. pre- dominance, coalitions of competitors pre- dictably formed. "Since the end of the Cold War," Glennon writes, "the French, the Chinese, and the Russians have sought to re- turn the world to a more balanced system." As Hubert Vedrine, then France's foreign minister, explained in 2001, "We have to keep defending our vital interests just as be- fore; we can say no, alone, to anything that may be unacceptable." U.S. secretary of de- fense Donald Rumsfeld could not have said it better.
"States pursue security by pursuing power," observes Glennon, and in doing that, they use the institutional tools avail- able. For France, Russia, and China, the Security Council and their veto power were the tools at hand in the Iraq crisis. Had Washington been in their position, it proba- bly would have done as they did. And, Glennon believes, had the three nations found themselves in the position of the United States during the Iraq crisis, each of them would have "used the council-or threatened to ignore it-just as the United States did.'
No rational state today would imagine that the UN Charter protects its security, says Glennon. The UN Charter permits the use of force only in self-defense and only "if an armed attack occurs." But the provision has been flagrantly violated so often since 1945 that it has been rendered inoperative. NATO's humanitarian intervention in Kosovo in 1999 was as blatant a violation as the recent preventive war in Iraq. "The char- ter has gone the way of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, the 1928 treaty by which every major country that would go on to fight in World War I1 solemnly committed itself not to resort to war as an instrument of national policy."
If a new international framework is to be designed in the future, Glennon warns, it must reflect "the way states actually be- have and the real forces to which they re- spond." If it is built again on "imaginary truths that transcend politics," such as the notion of the sovereign equality of states, it is doomed to failure.
"The Paradoxes of American Nationalism" by Minxin Pei, in Foreign Policy (May-June 2003), 1779 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036.
Though Americans are among the most patriotic people on earth, they have a hard time acknowledging and dealing with the nationalism of others-a blind spot that can spell trouble for U.S. foreign policy, argues Pei, codirector of the China pro- gram at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
"American nationalism is hidden in plain sight," he observes, sustained chiefly by civic volunteerism rather than, as in au- thoritarian regimes, by the state, and all the more authentic and attractive for it. Even before the 2001 terrorist attacks, a survey showed that 72 percent of Americans were "very proud" of their na- tionality. That was less than the 80 percent of Mexicans, 81 percent of Egyptians, and 92 percent of Iranians who said they were "very proud" of theirs, but it was far more than the 49 percent of the British, 40 per- cent of the French, and 20 percent of the Dutch expressing national pride.
Americans do not regard their national- ism as nationalism at all, says Pei, because it is not based on notions of cultural or ethnic superiority. They view it, rather, as being founded on a set of universal politi- cal ideals that the rest of the world should gladly embrace. But, as Pei notes, even in Western Europe, "another bastion of lib- eralism and democracy," a recent survey found that less than half the respondents "like American ideas about democracy."
Unlike nationalism in most other coun- tries, he says, American nationalism is based on past triumphs, not past humilia- tions and defeats. It's forward-looking, iin- bued with "a missionary spirit and a short collective memory." But the U.S. effort to "liberate" Iraq, for example, looks like something else to inhabitants of the Middle East, who are "haunted by memo- ries of Western military invasions since the time of the Crusades."
Washington's "insensitivity" to foreign nationalism stirs resentments and prompts accusations of hypocrisy, Pei believes. What's more, it undermines efforts by the United States to isolate hostile regimes such as North Korea. "The rising nation- alism of South Korea's younger genera- tion . . . hasn't yet figured in Washington's calculations concerning Pyongyang's [nu- clear] brinkmanship."
Americans' own insularity compounds the problem. Pei cites a survey showing that, in the past five years, only 22 percent of Americans have traveled to a foreign country, compared with 66 percent of Canadians, 73 percent of Britons, 60 percent of the French, and 77 percent of Germans. And even in the wake of September 11, 2001, Americans are not much interested in international affairs. In an early 2002 survey, only 26 percent said that they were following foreign news "very closely."
Little wonder, then, that American na- tionalism evokes "mixed feelings" abroad. That might not matter much under other circun~stances,says Pei, but when the na- tionalism drives U.S. foreign policy, the unfortunate result is "broad-based anti- Americanism."
Is the evolution Over?
"IT Doesn't Matter" by Nicholas G. Carr, in Harvard Business Review (May 2003). 60 Harvard Way, Boston, Mass. 02163.
Information technology (IT) was once thought a vital strategic tool for gaining an edge on competitors. But these days, argues Carr, Harvard Business Review's editor at large, IT has become just another humdrum
means of doing business.
"You only gain an edge over rivals by hav- ing or doing something that they can't have or do," he points out. "By now, the core functions of IT-data storage, data process- ing, and data transport-have become avail- able and affordable to all."
Before IT was so widespread, many com- panies-including Mobil Oil, American Airlines, and Federal Express-were indeed able to steal a march on competitors by their innovative use of proprietary IT. But, says Carr, as happened with other "infrastructur- al" technologies-the telegraph, railroads, electric powerÃ?â??1'th window for gaining ad- vantage" remained open only briefly. The cost of a technology drops, "best practices" are quickly identified and disseminated, and the opportunities for breakthrough uses de-crease. Today, hardware and software available right off the shelf have much more power than most companies need. As a result, Microsoft, IBM, Sun, and other IT produc- ers are rushing to reposition themselves as suppliers of "Web services"-charging an-nual fees and becoming, in effect, utilities.
IT "is entwined with so many business functions . . . that it will continue to con- sume a large portion of corporate spend- ing," Carr writes. But a kind of mania drove IT expenditures during the 1990s from about 30 percent of all capital spending by
U.S. corporations to nearly 50 percent. He urges companies to cast a cold eye on the amounts they spend for IT. Most workers don't need the latest blazingly fast PC to do their jobs, and a huge investment in data storage simply to save employee e-mails and files makes no sense.
What's more, Carr maintains, being stingy with IT dollars is unlikely to damage a firm's competitive position. A consulting firm that looked at 7,500 large U.S. compa- nies last year found that the typical company spent 3.7 percent of revenues on IT. But the 25 firms with the highest financial returns spent, on average, less than one percent.
The New COIOSSUS
"Beyond Markets and Hierarchies: Toward a New Synthesis of American Business History" by Naomi R. Lamoreaux, Daniel M.G. Raff, and Peter Temin, in American Historical Review (Apr. 2003), 914 Abater, Bloomington, Ind. 47401.
In The Visible Hand (1977) and other in- fluential works, Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., es- tablished what has been for a quarter-centu- ry the dominant approach to American business history. Chandler argued that America's economic success in the 20th cen- tury was due to the rise of huge, vertically in- tegrated, hierarchically managed enterprises in steel, automaking, and other important industries. Instead of relying on the market to obtain raw materials and to sell their prod- ucts, the Ford Motor Company and other large firms took on the supply and market- ing functions themselves- and inanage-ment's "visible hand" proved more efficient than the market's invisible one.
Chandler's view prevailed even as the be- hemoth firms lle celebrated were running into grave difficulties in the late 20th centu- ry. Now, Lamoreaux, Raff, and Temin, eco- nomic historians affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research, offer an up- dated view of business history.
Chandler "provided a compelling alter- native to the [then-common] robber-baron view of big business," say the authors. But by the 1980s, "classic Chandlerian firms fre- quently were being outperformed, even in their core businesses, by more specialized, vertically disintegrated rivals," such as Toyota. Detroit automakers found it hard to adapt, but firms in other U.S. manufactur-ing industries, particularly new ones such as computers, were at home in the new envi- ronment. Refusing to limit themselves, i la Chandler, to a simple choice between hier- archy and the market, these firms opted for an intermediate form of "coordination mechanism": close, long-term relationships with independent parties. In the changed circumstances, this proved more effective than an approach that was either pure mar- ket or pure hierarchy.
The spread of railroads and the telegraph during the second half of the 19th century encouraged firms to take advantage of
Henry Ford created the coal-mining town of Twin Branch, West Virginia, to supply his steel mills, which in turn supported his automaking plants. Such hierarchical enterprises are a thing of the past.
economies of scale and rely on hierarchical management to control their far-flung oper- ations. The firms' mass production of stan- dardized goods at low cost put those goods within the reach of most consumers. By the late 20th century, however, affluence was encouraging consumers to demand a better quality of goods and more choice. Specialized firms, relying 011 "long-term re- lationships" with suppliers and distributors, had the flexibility to satisfy consun~ers' new wants; the hierarchical behenloths did not.
That recent development doesn't signal the end of business history, the authors cau- tion, for the "coordination mechanisms" that work well in one period "may not operate as effectively when economic conditions or in- stitutional environments change."
For Better andfor Worse
"Reexamining Adaptation and the Set Point Model of Happiness: Reactions to Changes in Marital
Status" by Richard E. Lucas, Andrew E. Clark, Yannis Georgellis, and Ed Diener, in Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology (Mar. 2003), American Psychological Association,
750 First St., N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002-4242.
In America's continuing culture wars, even happiness has become a political foot- ball. Defenders of the traditional family have taken to making the case for marriage by ar- guing that married people are healthier, wealthier, and, yes, happier than unmarried folks. (Hold the Henny Youngman jokes!) And it turns out that researchers have been beavering away for years trying to under- stand what makes people happy.
Research does show that married folks are happier than others, but that may be be- cause happier people are more likely to marry. That recognition got scholars digging deeper. One leading school of thought holds that life is really just one long "hedonic treadmill." According to this view, the propensity toward happiness is pretty much established by genetic predispositions and personality. A walk down the aisle-or any other uplifting event-may lead some people to a spell of bliss, but before long they're their old selves again. In other words, peo- ple have a happiness "set point." (Actually, researchers don't often use the word happi-ness; they speak instead of "subjective well- being," or SWB.)
It's a good theory, but it misses a lot, con- tend Lucas, a psychologist at Michigan State University, and his colleagues. They ana- lyzed data from a 15-year study of more than 24,000 individuals living in Germany dur- ing the 1980s and 1990s. The subjects were regularly asked to indicate how satisfied they were with their lives, using a scale from 0 (totally unhappy) to 10 (totally happy),
For the 1,761 participants who married during the study and stayed married, wed- lock, on average, provided only a very small long-term boost, a tenth of a point uptick on the authors' 11-point scale. After an early lift, the bloom came off the rose in about five years. That average result seems to lend sup- port to the treadmill theory, but, the authors say, it masks great variations. Many people ended up much happier over the long run than they were before they were married- and many ended up a lot less happy.
In general, say the authors, "people who were less happy to begin with got a bigger boost from marriage," and the boost lasted.
On the other hand, the death of a spouse has a lasting and marked effect. It took eight years, on average, for widows and widowers who did not remarry to approxi- mate the level of well-being they felt while married.
The authors conclude that a sort of "he- donic leveling" takes place with the married and widowed states. Those most satisfied with their lives before marriage don't get as much of a lift from being married as the lonely and somewhat dissatisfied. And the most satisfied husbands and wives lose the most when their spouses die. As those wid- ows and widowers know all too well, much more than just good genes and an upbeat personality are needed for happiness.
Not Keeping Up with the Joneses
"Issues in Economics" by Katharine Bradbury and Jane Katz, in Regional Review (2002: Qtr. 4), Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, 600 Atlantic Ave., Boston, Mass. 02106.
Call it the deal behind the American dream: Americans have tacitly agreed to ac- cept more income inequality than Euro- peans do in return for a freer economy and more opportunities for individual upward mobility. In other words, the gap between rich and poor might be wider than in Europe, but Americans believe they have a better chance of jumping it.
Now, however, it appears that the deal may be in jeopardy. It's widely accepted that income inequality has grown during the past few decades, note Bradbury and Katz, both of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. But new evidence suggests that, at the same time, the indispensable tonic of economic mobility has lost some of its potency.
During the 1970s (actually, 1969-79) for example, only 49.4 percent of the working-age households that began the decade in the bot- tom 20 percent of earners were still in the bottom quintile at the end of the decade [see chart]. During the 1990s, however, 53.3 percent of the families that started off in the lowest quintile were still there 10 years later. (At the same time, downward mobility among the rich seemed to lessen: 49.1 percent
WHERE FAMILIES D *
STARTED IN 1969.
WHERE FAMILIES DD.
STARTED IN 1988,
BY QUINTILE POOREST SECOND THIRD FOURTH RICHEST
Poorest 53.3 23.6 12.4 6.4 4.3 Second 25.7 36.3 22.6 11.0 4.3 Third 10.9 20.7 28.3 27.5 12.6 Fourth 6.5 12.9 23.7 31.1 25.8 Richest 3.0 5.7 14.9 23.2 53.2
of the most affluent Americans stayed in the top income quintile during the 1970s, but
53.2 percent survived during the 1990s.)
Because "most people judge their well- being relative to others," the authors warn, the lack of upward mobility makes the grow- ing inequality of incomes something to worry about.
reedi in^ a Better America
"Race Cleansing in America" by Peter Quinn, in American Heritage (Feb.-Mar. 2003), 28 W. 23rd St., New York, N.Y. 10010.
"Three generations of imbeciles are enough," declared Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, writing for the 8 to 1 majority of the Supreme Court in 1927. The ruling affirmed the right of the state ofVirginia to sterilize a young woman named Carrie Buck against her will. The daughter of a "feeble-minded" woman, Buck had been institutionalized three years be- fore, at age 17. She was already the mother of a child born out of wedlock.
The Court's decision was a landmark victo- ry for the eugenics movement in America, notes historical novelist Quinn, who is working on a book about the movement. Within five years, 28 states had compulsory sterilization laws. The annual average number of forced sterilizations increased tenfold, to almost 2,300, and by the 1970s, when the practice had large- ly ceased, more than 60,000 Americans had been sterilized.
Eugenics (both the theory and the word) originated with British biologist Francis Galton (1822-1911), who saw a clear link between achievement and heredity, and thought en- lightened governments should encourage "the more suitable races or strains of blood to prop- agate, lest they be overwhelmed by their fast- multiplying inferiors.
Emerging in America in the late 19th such as the Carnegie Institute and the Rock- century, the eugenics movement gathered efeller Foundation. An ERO model statute pro- strength as immigrants from southern and east- vided much of the basis for the 1924 Virginia ern Europe flooded into the country. In 1903, law under which Carrie Buck was sterilized. with the strong backing of President Theodore Before long, however, scientific and medical Roosevelt, Congress barred the entry of anyone advances began to cast serious doubt on the the- with a history of epilepsy or insanity. FOL~ ory of eugenics, says Quinn. "Hereditary feeble-
years later, the unwanted list was expanded to include mindedness was shown in many instances to be "imbeciles," the "feeble-minded," and those the incidental result ofbirth trauma, inadequate with tuberculosis. Meanwhile, doctors took up nutrition, untreated learning disabilities, infant the cause of compulsory sterilization, and neglect, or abuse, often enough the conse- Indiana became the first state to authorize its quences of poverty rather than the cause." The use on the "unimprovable" in state-run institu- ERO closed its doors in 1939. tions. Four decades later, the director of the hospi-
In 1910, Charles Davenport, a Harvard-tal in which Carrie Buck had been sterilized trained biologist, founded the Eugenics Record sought her out. "It was transparently clear," Office (ERO), in Cold Spring Harbor, New Quinn writes, "that neither Buck nor her sister York, to press for eugenics legislation. The lobby [who had also been sterilized] was feeble-mind- received generous support from wealthy indi- ed or imbecilic. Further investigation showed viduals such as Mary Williamson Harriman, the that the baby Carrie Buck had given birth to- widow ofrailroad magnate E. H. Harriman, and Justice Holmes's third-generation imbecile- John D. Rockefeller, and from foundations had been a child of normal intelligence."
How to Get ~uck@
"The Luck Factor" by Richard Wiseman, in Skeptical Inquirer (May-June 2003),
P.O.Box 703, Amherst, N.Y. 14226-9973.
Some people seem to be born lucky, while Consider those "chance opportunities." In others never catch a break. Ten years ago, one experiment, Wiseman asked his subjects to Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of count the number of photos in a newspaper. Hertfordshire, England, decided to investigate Some finished the job in seconds, but others whether that's so. His finding People largely took, on average, about two minutes. Why the make their own luck, good or bad. difference? Page two of the newspaper bore a
He rounded up 400 message in large type:
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volunteers, people who j' ,,. T-. 1 I...=/ -1 1.1 "Stop counting-There
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considered themselves are 43 photographs in either exceptionally fa- this newspaper." The
vored by fortune or ex- I lucky ones noticed. The ceptionally not. Then he unlucky ones, generally poked and prodded, sub- tense and anxious sorts, jecting them to inter-were so intent on count- views, personality quiz- ing that they tended to zes, intelligence tests, 'Aintizitif,threefailedmarriages, scow ofdwstrws miss the message.
fi~iwatrtwrsah, andfaunflessfbywalailmmfx, !hrongh it nil?
and various experiments. I'w nlwyshodfwd luckpart;n8 Into every life, of
"My research revealed course, some rain must that lucky people generate their own good for- fall. But the lucky and the unlucky tune via four basic principles. They are skilled generally react differently when it does. at creating and noticing chance opportunities, In one experiment, Wiseman asked his make lucky decisions by listening to their in- subjects to imagine how each of them tuition, create self-fulfilling prophecies via pos- would feel if he or she were shot in the arm itive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude by a robber while waiting in line at a that transforms bad luck into good." bank. The unlucky bemoaned their fate: "It's
just my bad luck to have been in the bank then." The lucky had a different reaction: "Things could have been a lot worse; I might have been shot in the head." That sort ofpositive attitude among the lucky, says Wiseman, "helps keep their expectations about the future high," and makes a continued lucky life more likely. But the ill-starred need not fear that all is lost.
Wiseman explained "the four main principles of luck" to a group of volunteers who then went off for a month to put the principles into prac- tice. On their return, he says, 80 percent re- ported that they "were now happier, more satis- fied with their lives, and, perhaps most important of all, luckier." A fortunate outcome, indeed! (Knock on wood.)
The w right Side of prison
"Women in Prison: A Comparative Assessment" by Heather Heitfielcl and Rita J. Simon, in Gender Issues (Winter 2002), Transaction Periodicals Consortium, Rutgers University, 35 Berrue Circle, Piscatawa~, N.J. 08854-8042.
Globalization has been a good thing for most women around the world, and one piece of evidence for that proposition, oddly enough, is that more ofthem are in jail than ever before.
It makes sense, say Heitfield and Sinloll, a graduate student and professor, respectively, at American University. Globalization produces economic and social progress, which allows more women to "assume the positions of au- thority and power that have traditionally been held by men." That also means "increased ex- posure to opportunities to commit workplace and property crimes such as larceny, fraud, embezzlement and forgery." Apparently, women have been seizing those opportunities.
In their survey of 26 countries, Heitfield and Simon find that Thailand tops the list of dubi- ous honor. Women make up 18 percent of the prison population there. Next come Argentina, the Netherlands, and the United States, all at levels slightly above eight percent. (There were about 160,000 women behind bars in the United States in 1998.) At the bottom of the scale are Israel, Pakistan, and Nigeria, where women constitute two percent or less of the prison population.
Feeding these and other data into a com- puter, the authors looked for correlations. They found that incarceration rates were pret- ty closely linked with levels of female educa- tion and literacy. More education generally means more women in prison. So does a high- er rate of econon~ic growth. Yet, surprisingly, the authors uncovered no meaningful con- nection between jail time and women's par- ticipation in the work force or other labor-related indicators. They say their findings point to a need for new prisons and for new policies for dealing with inmates who, among other things, bear and raise children.
The ~edia'sIraq War
A Survey of Recent Articles
'D uring seven weeks spent with half a dozen [U.S. Army] units," recalls David Zucchino, a reporter for The Los Angeles Times (May 3, 2003), "I slept in fight- ing holes and armored vehicles, on a rooftop, a garage floor and in lumbering troop trucks. . . . I ate with the troops. . . . I com-plained with them about the choking dust, the lack ofwater, our foul-smelling bodies, and our scaly, rotting feet." Like the 600 other journalists "embedded" in U.S. military units during the 43-day war in Iraq, Zucchino was dependent on his hosts for sustenance, transportation, protection-and access. This last enabled him to write vividly detailed stories about the battle for Baghdad and the performance of American soldiers in combat. But the officially sanctioned access also limited him. "I could not interview sur- vivors of Iraqi civilians killed by U.S. sol- diers. . . . I had no idea what ordinary Iraqis were experiei~cing.'~
Despite its drawbacks, the extensive em- bedding experiment (which had been tried on a limited basis during the 2001-02 war in Afghanistan) was deemed a success by both the military and the media.
Major newspapers, such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, also dispatched many reporters and photographers who were not lodged with
U.S. troops. Those colleagues, says Zucchino, "covered what we could not-the Iraq gov- ernment, civilian casualties, humanitarian crises, military strategy, political fallout, and everything else beyond our cloistered exis- tence." "The war has been reported superbly by newspapers," says Stephen Hess, who scru- tinizes the media from his scholarly perch at the Brookings Institution in Washington. "The stories have been rich in variety, coming at this from so many different angles."
But only a minority of Americans (30 per- cent, in one poll) relied on newspapers for news about the war. Advanced technology and access to the battlefield allowed both cable and broadcast TVto relay powerful images of fire- fights and bombs exploding over Baghdad.
et graphic footage of the death and suf- Y fering seldom made it on the air, at least in the united States. A study of more than 40 hours of coverage on the broadcast and cable networks early in the war "found that about half the reports from embedded journalists showed combat action, but not a single story depicted people hit by weapons," writes Jacqueline E. Sharkey, head of the Depart- ment of Journalism at the University of Arizona, in American Journalism Review (May 2003). "As the war continued, the networks did show casualties, usually from afar. The footage was much less graphic than still photographs shown in newspapers and magazines."
Fox News, the most-watched cable news channel, and MSNBC, which drew on the journalistic resources of NBC News, took an "overtly patriotic approach" in their coverage, Sharkey notes, and reaped huge ratings in- creases. That's not to say there was no media criticism of the war, observes contributing
writer Rachel Smolkin in a subsequent issue (June 2003) ofAmerican Journalism Review- especially when the march on Baghdad seemed bogged down. She reports that jour- nalists are still debating whether they overre- acted to Washington's cues-pumping up the promised "shock and awe" campaign, then complaining when a quick victory seemed out of reach, for example-and to the demands of a round-the-clock news cycle.
Michael Massing, a contributing editor of the Columbia Journalism Review who was in Qatar during the war, found MSNBC's "mawk- ishness and breathless boosterism" repellent. "Its anchors mostly recounted tales of Amer- ican bravery and derring-do," he writes in The New York Review of Books (May 29,2003).
Far more impressive, in Massing's judg- ment, was the coverage by the BBC. "With 200 reporters, producers, and technicians in the field, its largest deployment ever, the network offered no-nonsense anchors, tenacious corre- spondents, perceptive features, and a host of commentators steeped in knowledge of the Middle East, in contrast to the retired gener-
Missing the Beat
Bright writing now brings the most and quickest rewards inside news organiza- tions-rather than the solid but often less spectacular beat reporting of the best of journalists, like [The New York Times'] Linda Greenhouse, a worthy Pulitzer win- ner at the Supreme Court after years of quiet hard work. Young reporters are quick to learn this new reality, and ride the trend. They also know that their news organ- izations manage or even manipulate coverage to position favored reporters on the fast track for prizes and promotions. There is much temptation to put more emphasis on "writing" rather than reporting. The [Jayson] Blair case is but the most grotesque and damaging manifestation of this trend.
-Barbara Crossette, a former New York Times correspondent and bureau chief, on the Romenesko page at www.poynter.org
als and colonels we saw on American TV. viewers, according to Massing. CNN Reporters were not afraid to challenge the International "was far more serious and in- coalition's clain~s." formedJ'-more like the BBC. "For the most
The coverage CNN offered to the world at part," he says, "U.S. news organizations gave large was, despite "plenty of overlap," differ- Americans the war they thought Americans ent from the coverage it gave American wanted to see."
The ~irthof ~eIi~io~
"Diplomacy and Domestic Devotion: Embassy Chapels and the Toleration of Religious Dissent in Early Modem Europe" by Benjamin J. Kaplan, in Journal of Early Modem History (2002: No. 4), Univ. of Minnesota, 614 Social Sciences, 267-19thAve. S., Minneapolis, Minn. 55455; and "Fictions of Privacy: House Chapels and the Spatial Accommodation of Religious Dissent in Early Modern Europe" by Benjamin J. Kaplan, in American Historical Review (Oct. 2002), 400 A St., S.E., Washington, D.C.20003.
In the aftermath of the Reformation, the Parallel practices evolved outside the religious division in European states rarefied realm of high diplomacy with caused a special problem for diplomats: the gradual acceptance of what the Where was a Protestant ambassador to wor- Dutch called the schuilkerk, or clandestine ship in a Catholic capital such as Paris, church. Most schuilkerken were created in- Vienna, Brussels, or Madrid? And where was a Catholic diplomat to worship in a Protestant capital such as London, Stockholm, Copen- hagen, or The Hague? To deal with the diplomatic issue, and, more broadly, to keep domestic religious divi- sions from tearing countries apart, European states hit upon a distinction that al- lowed the furtive practice of religious tolerance.
The distinction they made, explains Kaplan, a historian at University Col- lege, London, was between public worship, in accor-dance with a con~munity's official faith, and private worship. Beginning in the 17th century, ambassadors were allowed increasingly to establish chapels inside their residences where they could practice their forbidden faith in private-as long as they did not visibly flout the When the Catholic chapel in the French embassy in London sacral community of the host collapsed in 1623 on the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot, nation. killing 90, Protestants saw it as an act of divine retribution.
side homes, though some were inside warehouses or barns. But they shared a key characteristic, as did the embassy chapels: None looked like a place of worship from the street. In Amsterdam, Catholics main- tained 20 such churches in 1700, while the Mennonites had six and other groups four. The Dutch schuilkerken, Kaplan points out, had thousands of counterparts else- where in Europe, with various names, in- cluding house cl~urches, prayer houses, meeting houses, mass houses, house chapels, oratories, and assen~bly places.
The embassy chapels stirred a new issue: Could native religious dissidents attend services in an embassy? "For an entire cen- tury," writes Kaplan, "from the 1560s through the 1650s, this issue provoked clashes in London, some of them violent, be- tween authorities and citizens, on the one hand, and the personnel of the Spanish, French, and Venetian embassies on the other." The 1583 "Tl~rockinorton plot" -which involved the Spanish ambassador and an Englishn~an who aimed to restore Catholicism in England-seemed to con- firm English suspicions about the foreign embassies of Catholic powers.
But despite frequent tensions and occa- sional violence, Kaplan says, most embassy chapels in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries effectively served "significant congregations that included native dissi- dents." And out of that practice developed the modern legal doctrine of extraterritori- ality: the pretense that an ambassador and his embassy were on the soil of his home- land. Thus, embassy chapels did not vio- late the religious laws of a host country, and native dissidents who attended chapel services did not violate local laws. It was all part of a larger fiction, says Kaplan, "that enabled Europeans to accommodate dis- sent without confronting it directly, to tol- erate knowingly what they could not bring themselves to accept fully . . . to go on liv- ing as if civic and sacral community were still one and the same."
Is Good LUCK unfair?
"What is Egalitarianism?" by Samuel Scheffler, in Philosophy 6-Public Affairs (Winter 2003), and "Equality, Luck and Hierarchy" by Ronald Dworkin, in Philosophy 6-Public Affairs (Spring 2003), 41 Williams St., Princeton, N.J. 08540.
"Life is unfair," President John F. Ken-nedy once famously observed. A school of philosopl~ers has arisen in recent decades with a (theoretical) solution: Redistribute economic resources to compensate for ad- vantages conferred by luck, and let advan- tages stemming from individuals' own choic- es stand. But this "luck egalitarianism," as it's been dubbed, misconstrues the ideal of equality, contends Scheffler, a professor of philosophy and law at the University of California, Berkeley.
According to Scheffler, "luck egalitari- ans" such as Ronald Dworkin, Will Kym- licka, and John Roemer deny "that a person's natural talent, creativity, intel- ligence, innovative skill, or entrepreneur- ial ability can be the basis for legitimate inequalities." On the other hand,earning more money than others by choosing to work more hours than they do is fine-and so, luck egalitarians argue, the extra mon- ey shouldn't be taxed.
But the ideal of equality, as commonly understood, Scheffler says, "is opposed not to luck but to oppression, to heritable hi- erarchies of social status, to ideas of caste, to class privilege and the rigid stratifica- tion of classes, and to the undemocratic distribution of power." As a moral ideal, equality asserts the equal worth of human beings; as a political ideal, the equal rights of citizens. Questions about the distribu- tion of econonlic resources are important but secondary considerations.
Dworkin, a professor of philosophy and law at New York University and the author of Sovereign Virtue (2000), tries "to anchor luck-egalitarian principles in a more gen- eral ideal of equality," Scheffler says. But his ideal "is perfectly compatible with so- cial hierarchy." For example, "an auto- cratic government might impose an eco- nomic system that treated individuals as equals in Dworkin's sense, bu