Is a reviewer exonerable even from hatchet jobs?

Date: Sun, 14 Nov 1999 18:46:51 -0800
From: KO
To: Dead Fukuzawa Society <>
Subject: A defence of Ramseyer review of "Cartels of the Mind"

I have a problem with David Aldwinckle's problems with the Ramseyer review of "Cartels of the Mind" The heart of Dave's disagreement with Ramseyer is that Ramseyer tears into Hall's lack of proof. Dave says:

...that for an academic journal this piece shows a surprising lack of academic tone, "systematic data", or even sufficient substantiation (citing "law faculties I know" without giving names, the reviewer's own "haphazard" impressions, Christmas cards from "Dave"?)."

The problem is that Ramseyer is not the one who carries the burden of proof. In a polemical fashion he shows potential flaws in the argument made by Ivan Hall. In a review he need not give substantive proof or systematic data - all he needs to do is point out the flaws and as long as those flaws are substantial enough, he need do no more. To argue that he needs to substantiate misunderstands the situation - after all it is Hall's thesis that needs substantiation which he does not provide, other than in the form of anecdotes.. In this respect I think it is a little unfair to accuse the
JJS of ignoring the issue.

This is not to say I do not have sympathy for the case made by Hall and Aldwinckle. It is quite possible that Japanese universitites are discriminating against their long serving foreign employees. But, I agree with Ramseyer that the anecdotes given by Hall are insufficient proof and in my view even the web sites cited by Dave Aldwinckle are insufficient.

What is required to prove the "academic apartheid" argued by Hall? This can be seen in the part where Dave disagrees with Ramseyer that foreign faculty on "gaikokujin kyoushi" and "gaikokujin kyouin" basis should be compared with Japanese part-time faculty and should instead be compared with tenured Japanese faculty. I would suggest that Dave needs to prove - and this would be research that an academic journal might well be happy to publish:

Proof needs to be in the form of data and in the form of a clear pattern of discrimination. It is not enough to show that people lost their jobs - it must also be shown that they were equivalent to either tenured faculty or part-time faculty and were treated in a manner different from their Japanese colleagues.

I am sure that Professor Ramseyer (who I do not know) need no defence from anyone. He seems to specialise in knocking down ill-founded beliefs as can be seen in his books "Odd Markets in Japanese History: Law and Economic Growth." Cambridge Univ Press. 1996 (showing the logic behind indenturing for prostitutes among other things), "Japan's Political Marketplace" with Frances
Rosenbluth Harvard Univ Press 1993 (showing the trade-offs in modern Japanese politics). But it would seem a pity for people reading the ill-tempered comments of some on DFS to write-off such a thought provoking and accomplished author, although the rational choice model does seem a
little too pat at times. I would also urge people to read Ivan Hall's "Cartels of the mind" since it is equally thought provoking.

Regards, KO.

Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 20:07:58 +0900
From: JT
Subject: Re: A defence of Ramseyer review of "Cartels of the Mind"

KO wrote:
>I have a problem with David Aldwinckle's problems with the Ramseyer
>review of "Cartels of the Mind".

A couple of comments (snip). Ken goes on to say:

>What is required to prove the "Academic apartheid" argued by Hall?
>This can be seen in the part where Dave disagrees with Ramseyer that
>foreign faculty on "gaikokujin kyoushi" and "gaikokujin kyouin"
>basis should be compared with Japanese part-time faculty and should
>instead be compared with tenured Japanese faculty.

Well, I can't provide the kind of data that Ken asks for, but there are some structural facts that seem to argue for Ivan Hall's conclusion. The first is that there is basically no way for the gaikokujin kyoushi at a national university to move to a regular tenured position. Any Japanese native who is a part time teacher could move to one of those positions if they were hired. A full time teacher, be s/he Japanese or foreign, is required to go into work every day, lists the person as their full time employer, and has to complete all of the fiddly paperwork that goes along with that. I'm not sure how we can then equate the foreigners in that group with part time workers, who only have to show up for their class and they leave when it's over.

Of course, now that Monbusho's policy is being effectively carried out, it would be silly for foreigners to put in anything more than the minimum effort in fulfilling their duties, grading by attendance only and simply acting like a part-time teacher. You get what you pay for.

Of course, the majority of the people who this affects are teaching English and I detect more than a whiff of elitism in Prof. Ramsayer's assertion that the Japanese faculty are 'the stars'. The fact is that the Japanese teachers in general education departments are doing exactly what the foreigners are doing, teaching English, but because of the passport they hold, they don't get kicked out after 5 years. In fact, they are allowed to stay until 61 and collect a sizable pension at the end of their long years of service.

K is right to point out the wage disparity
>2) That foreign academics are paid in line with tenured faculty (so for
>example if they are equivalent to tenured faculty, but are paid more, it
>might be argued that this represented a premium paid for relative job

However, the problem that Ivan sets out is that they were never informed of the potential of job insecurity, even though they were paid more. In fact, they were reassured, directly and sincerely, that nothing would happen until it actually did. That is clearly problematic. Just because you pay people more money, it does not give you the right to treat them unfairly. Some people argue that they should have known, but they relied on the promises made to them by their Japanese supervisors that renewal was a formality. What is disappointing is that none of the Japanese supervisors felt that the bond of their word was important enough to challenge this.

Also, the question of whether they are paid more is a problematic one, in that no pension was set up for them. In fact, some calculations made by one currently employed gaikokujin kyoushi (I won't give his name until I can ask him if it's ok) show that the total compensation package is equivalent when you figure the pension received by the Japanese teachers. The foreign teachers are not making more than the Japanese, it's just paid over the length of the contract rather than with a pension at the end. Of course, all this money is saved when you dump them out and replace them with fresh ones.

Unfortunately, the system has been tweaked so that it is 'legal', in that newly hired GKs are told up front the maximum length of their contracts. Ivan Hall speaks of a specific slice of GK who came before caps were instituted and were thrown out after they were. Thus, comparing these people to part time faculty who understand that their work is on a year to year basis is misleading. In essence, the system took advantage of the conditions that were set out but never enforced. While I suppose that is legally defensible, I suppose, it presents the education system as willing to lie to its employees. I'm not surprised by that, mind you, but that's where the main problem lies.

K also writes that
>3) Where foreign faculty were clearly equivalent to tenured faculty
>that they were treated in a substantially different fashion.

I'm left thinking about the Yiddish phrase 'if my grandmother had balls, she'd be my grandfather'. I suppose that one could try and blame the foreigners who took these jobs for not trying to make themselves a part of the department. Every person is different and I'm sure that some of them made little effort to take on the full responsibilities of Japanese tenured faculty. But there were just as many who tried to and were rebuffed. As a gaikokujin kyoushi, our appeals for being able to attend faculty meetings and taking on equivalent responsibilities were denied, I suspect, because it would have muddied the waters as to what our status should be. I'm also sure it had to do with an allergy to change. Thus, we were assigned more classes than the equivalent tenured faculty in order to offset our non-participation in administrative matters. The goal was/is to have foreigners who can be cycled through, teach a maximum number of classes to satisfy the students' desire for 'real English' yet not be able to make any substantive suggestions on improving the curriculum.

Ivan Hall places this in terms of international competition, which is a bit problematic, because we can't measure international competiveness except in the vaguest of manners. But viewed on the terms of broadening student horizons, the policy leaves Japanese students believing that the study of English is somehow based on a division between 'academic' as exemplified by their Japanese teachers who have students go through whatever they did in grad school, be it 17th century British literature or Chomskyan linguistic theory, and 'conversational' as exemplified by the foreigners who might as well be supplied by Duskin. That this goes on at the universities that are funded by taxpayers money and are considered the 'elite' institutions makes it little wonder that a perennial topic for Japanese is wondering why no one learns English.

cheers, JT

Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 20:03:50 +0900
From: Dave Aldwinckle
Subject: CARTELS: Reviewers exonerable from burden of proof?

KO makes a decent defense of the Ramseyer review on two fronts. One is substantive (which JT and TL addressed in different emails, thanks, so I won't), and the other is where he says:

"The problem is that Ramseyer is not the one who carries the burden of
proof. In a polemical fashion he shows potential flaws in the argument made
by Ivan Hall. In a review he need not give substantive proof or systematic
data - all he needs to do is point out the flaws and as long as those flaws
are substantial enough, he need do no more. To argue that he needs to
substantiate misunderstands the situation - after all it is Hall's thesis
that needs substantiation which he does not provide, other than in the form
of anecdotes. In this respect I think it is a little unfair to accuse the
JJS of ignoring the issue."


Perhaps. But the point I would like to make is that it would be suitable for reviewers to give readers an indication that they have background knowledge or insights on the subject being discussed in the book. That they are not just some "Tom-Dick-or-Harry" who can put pen to paper. Professor
Ramseyer, in his review, IMHO doesn't do that. He does indeed point out supposed flaws in CARTELS, yes, but, again, offers little substantive counterevidence to disprove the assertions Dr Hall makes. I am not talking specifically about "systematic data" (as if social science is so easy to
quantify in numbers and run regressions on--especially when the numbers in question, as inquisitive scholars know, are closely-guarded secrets within the Monbushou), but certainly citing institutions without name and Christmas cards do not a sterling critique make. Neither does backing up one's criticisms with rational-choice-sounding jargon like "prudent personnel management". Nor does working from the insulting presumption that Japanese are the "stars" and foreign educators are not. That is why this particular review leaves the feeling of a hatchet job instead of the careful dissection of a quality review.

So what exactly is a "quality review"? I have excerpted below an excellent and similarly critical critique of a book, on Pope Pius XII and his relationship to Nazi Germany, found in an issue of The Economist newsmagazine a few weeks ago. Although I knew nothing on the subject at all until I read the review, the reviewer demonstrates a very deep knowledge about the subject--even destroying a piece of historical photographic evidence that was used incorrectly in the book. See below.

Now THIS is a review. It demonstrates good scholarship--an earnest search for the truth--that is sorely lacking in Professor Ramseyer's review. If journalists, who generally cast wide nets in their inventory of knowledge (in contrast to the deep probes academics are supposed to launch in their more specialized fields), can provide substantive evidence to this degree within the same amount of column space, why can't Professor Ramseyer? Why should we hold academic journal researchers to lower standards? If the author hadn't provided name or Harvard moniker, the tone--not to mention the content--of the CARTELS review for me would not have been all that difficult to dismiss as one from a crank.

Fortunately, even Ken suggests at the end of his defense that CARTELS is worth reading. From Professor Ramseyer's review, however, the notion is that one should not even bother--that the book doesn't even show that any evidence of discrimination towards foreigners because they are foreign
exists. This is patently false and thus not only a disservice to the academic community, with its mountains of books to get through, but also a lack of truth-disclosing earnestness: It just tries to shoot CARTELS down as stuff and fluff and put nothing in its place.

I am not saying that critiques of CARTELS should not be countenanced. But it should be better done, especially given the background of the social critique in this case. When a work like CARTELS is politically-powerful enough to warrant reviewer blacklisting by the domestic Japanese mass-komi (hardly anyone has dared touch the Japanese translation), one gets the notion that people have it in for this book. Now it would seem that that phenomenon has leaked overseas into respectable academic journals. That should be questioned and perhaps revealed in the marketplace of ideas, not perpetuated and justified by irresponsible reviews. Just to say that a reviewer has no responsibility to provide data, only to point out flaws, does not excuse the reviewer from demonstrating that he or she has insights into the data as well.

Dave Aldwinckle


DATE 9-Oct-99

Pius XII, the wartime pope, is the centurys most controversial pontiff. A
new biography will further fan the flames

430 pages; $29.95 and L20.00 UK

WHILE Jews were dying all over Nazi-occupied Europe, the man in the Vatican
kept his silence. Why Pius XII chose to do so has never been properly
explained, either by his critics or his defenders. Now those defenders, led
by Pope John Paul II, are campaigning for his beatification and elevation to
sainthood. John Cornwell's book is meant to throw a spanner in the works.

Mr Cornwell did not set out to prosecute the pontiff; his earlier writings
led the Vatican to believe he would be a safe pair of hands, and he was
given unprecedented access to Vatican papers. Yet his campaign against Pius
XII begins right on the cover. The provocative title, "Hitler's Pope", is
one thing; the photograph quite another, though this has hardly been
remarked on. It [published in original] shows Eugenio Pacelli, as he was
then known, gliding down the steps of the presidential palace in Berlin,
respectfully flanked by soldiers of the Wehrmacht. The dust-jacket gives the
year as 1939; immediately the picture has a smell of complicity, of papal
easiness in the company of brutes. Yet this picture is in fact from much
earlier, as is evident, on closer inspection, from the age of the pope and
the lack of Nazi insignia. It is 1927, and Pacelli, recently appointed papal
nuncio in Munich, has just presented his credentials to President

Mr Cornwell may not wittingly have made this mistake. Perhaps it was his
picture researcher. Yet the same tendency to make exaggerated, even false,
connections colours an otherwise fascinating book. This is dangerous,
because the subject of the Catholic Church and the Holocaust--the burden of
his study--is one that needs dispassionate handling. And it is a pity,
because Mr Cornwell, a professional historian, thoughtful Catholic and vivid
writer, has a solid case that he spoils by intemperance. In effect, he
blames one man for events in which, though he played a major role, he could
scarcely have exercised control.

Mr Cornwell says in the introduction that he could not help it. As his work
went on he became progressively horrified, until he ended up "in a state of
moral shock". Intermittently through the book, he explodes in disgust at his
subject or in appeals for Catholics to apologise for what happened to the
Jews. It is with a sort of relish, in the end, that he describes Pius XII's
imperfectly embalmed body farting and eructating in its coffin, turning
grey-green, the blackened nose at last falling off, as if finally reflecting
the years of inveterate political corruption.

His first indictment is simply stated. As the Vatican's secretary of state
in the 1930s, Pacelli went to great lengths to negotiate a Concordat with
Germany. Under the terms of the Concordat, finally struck with Hitler in
1933, the rights of the Catholic Church were to be preserved and respected.
In return, the Catholic Centre Party, which held the balance of power in the
Reichstag and had voted for the Enabling Act giving Hitler decree power, was
"voluntarily" to disband itself.

This is a fair summary. But Mr Cornwell spoils it by greatly overmagnifying
Pacelli's role. By agreeing to the silencing of German Catholics, Mr
Cornwell charges, Pacelli removed the only effective focus of German
opposition to the Nazi regime and, eventually, to the policy of wholesale
extermination of the Jews. There is something in this. Hitler wanted the
Concordat because he needed the Catholic Church in Germany on his side and
politically neutered; Pacelli wanted it to assert the rights of the Church,
especially over episcopal appointments and religious education, which had
been in jeopardy since Bismarck's day. Both men were pleased with what they
got, and believed they had won. Pacelli was doubtless impressed, as others
were, with the Nazi regime's orderliness, its stridency against communism
and the new hope it was giving to Germans: its neo-paganism was awkward, but
still to be preferred to the red tide to the east. Dealing with this regime
was not in itself (to use papal language) an occasion of sin.

Yet Mr Cornwell thinks it left German Catholics unable to resist the
increasing evil of the regime, which therefore triumphed. Certainly it
silenced their party in the Reichstag. To claim it did more, though, is to
make the astonishing assumption that German Catholics were completely
unified and would have opposed Hitler en masse. Plainly, they did not. The
country was one-third Catholic; many fell for Hitler's speeches with their
onslaughts on communists and Jews. Mr Cornwell himself notes that by 1939 a
quarter of the SS were Catholic: not merely reluctant voters or
followers-on, but thuggish enthusiasts.

Mr Cornwell's second indictment is that, as the Jews were first victimised
and then liquidated across German-occupied Europe, the pope said nothing.
His predecessor, Pius XI, in his encyclical "Mit brennender Sorge" (With
Burning Anxiety) of 1937, had condemned inthe most general terms the
excesses of the Nazi regime. Pius XII--perhaps seeing how much that mild
rebuke had angered the Germans--did not even go as far as that.

Pius XII never condemned either Hitler or the Nazis by name. Even more
strikingly, he never mentioned specifically the sufferings of the Jews,
though he was perfectly aware of them and though many people, both clergy
and lay diplomats, pleaded with him constantly to issue a public
condemnation. In October 1943, the Jews were rounded up in Rome itself; the
cattle trucks drove past St Peter's, the tiny shivering hands of the
incarcerated children hanging through the slats, so that the SS officers who
had been drafted in could see the sights of the Eternal City. The pope, safe
in St Peter's, still said nothing at all.

How can this crime be explained? For it was a crime, whether of culpable
omission or deliberate blindness. Popes assert a special authority on
matters of right and wrong derived from God. Pacelli knew better than anyone
the universal claims of the Church and its moral authority; his family had
been Vatican lawyers for generations, and he himself had worked all his life
to increase the influence of the Holy See. After the war, he mobilised his
forces like an army to take on communism; prayers were said from one end of
the world to the other for the conversion of Russia. Against evil dictators
on the right, though, he seemed to have no weapons but subterfuge and

Mr Cornwell explains this in two ways. First, Pacelli, an authoritarian
himself, relished and respected the authoritarianism of Hitler. The book
puts side by side pictures of the Fuhrer and the pope at rallies, revelling
in the adulation of the faithful: an irresistible pairing, though scarcely a
fair one. At the time of the negotiation of the Reich Concordat, Mr Cornwell
portrays the two men as bride and fiance, with the bride (Pacelli) rather
haplessly trying to hold her husband to the previously agreed terms. The
other reason for his silence was not unconnected. Pacelli, Mr Cornwell
insists, was an anti-Semite, not merely believing that the Jews should help
themselves but sympathising, at a deep level, with their removal from the
scene. As proof of this he cites an account written by Pacelli in 1919 of a
left-wing uprising in Munich led by Max Levien, "Russian and a Jew. Pale,
dirty, with drugged eyes, vulgar, repulsive, whining repeatedly that he was
in a hurry and had more important things to do."

This is the only direct evidence Mr Cornwell offers. It is not good enough;
not merely because it was recorded from someone else's first-hand
observations, but because it is the standard, universal racism of those
years, the sort of thing that T.S. Eliot and Graham Greene would write
without a second thought. To detach remarks like this from the death-camps
is now impossible; but in 1919, though despicable, they carried no such
weight. Bolsheviks and socialists--many of them Jews--were seen by
conservatives as a rootless threat to public order all over Europe. Pacelli
doubtless also felt the anti-Judaism of his Church: a prejudice so routine
and so long established that a lost encyclical "against" racism, drafted
just before the war, continued to assert that the Jews had reaped "worldly
and spiritual ruin" from the killing of Christ. Pacelli was an anti-Semite
in that sense; there was scarcely a member of his Church who was not.

As the book proceeds, it is clear that partisanship--on either side--is too
blunt a tool to be used for this story. Faced with perhaps the most evil
regime the world has seen, many decent men behaved in ways that seem
inexcusable in retrospect. Pacelli--one of these--evidently thought his
first duty was to preserve and enhance the power of the Church, not to
jeopardise it. He was aware that the Germans had reacted furiously to "Mit
brennender Sorge", mild as it was. The Catholics of Europe were his concern;
the Jews were not, and it was probably unconscionable for him to intercede
for them in public (though not, as some Jewish leaders have recognised, to
encourage help for them in secret). Pacelli's apparent excuse (he did not
quite state it explicitly) was that he feared reprisals against Catholics if
he condemned the Final Solution. This hardly exonerates him in modern eyes;
but it would have been more than good enough for him.

(final two paragraphs snipped)

Copyright 1999 The Economist Newsmagazine


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Copyright 1999, Dave Aldwinckle, Sapporo, Japan