Founded In    1967
Published   annually
Language(s)   Japanese
     

Fields of Interest

 

any field

     
ISSN   0387-2815
     
Editorial Board
Let me introduce this year’s editors: Takayuki TATSUMI (editor-in-chief, Literature, Keio University), Yoko SHIRAI (History, Tokyo International University), Ken CHUJO (History, Obirin University), Eiko IKUI (Cultural Studies, Kyoritsu Women’s University), Shoko ITOH (Literature, Hiroshima University), Tadashi UCHINO (Literature, The University of Tokyo), Chieko KITAGAWA OTSURU (Politics, Kansai University), Fukuko KOBAYASHI (Literature, Waseda University), Takuya SASAKI (Foreign Policy, Rikkyo University), Noriyuki SUGIURA (Economics, Keio University), Hiroshi TSUNEMATSU (History, Kyoto Women’s University), Hayumi HIGUCHI (History, Senshu University), Anri MORIMOTO (Religion, International Women’s University), and Tomoyuki ZETTSU (Literature, Rikkyo  University).

 

Submission Guidelines and Editorial Policies

Interdisciplinary articles are very welcome. The editors examine the submitted papers very closely and provide the promising authors with the opportunity to revise the manuscripts. Every issue publishes major scholars’ contributions to enrich the special feature section.

     

The American Review

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Since 1967 the Japanese Association for American Studies (JAAS) has published its interdisciplinary annual The American Review . Each issue features special topics like: American  family,  Globalization, post-Cold War,  Religion, Media and so forth. The 40th  anniversary issue due in March 2006 will concentrate on the topic of Violence. What is more, in the 39th issue we set up the section of longer book reviews; while our quarterly The American Studies Newsletter (its issue 160 is also due in March, 2006) has consistently printed short reviews of a variety of books, The American Review  decided to highlight several major works published by our members in the previous year. The editorial board consists of specialists from a diversity of fields.

 

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Special Feature: Violence, Issue 40

Emancipation, Family, and Violence: Race, Class, and Gender in a North Carolina Piedmont Community During Reconstruction


  Based on 124 case files collected from various superior court and freedmen's court documents in three counties (Granville, Orange and Alamance) in North Carolina between 1865 and 1885, this article examines and delineates contexts in which violence occurred in this area.
  In 44 out of these 124 cases, freedmen and their families were subjected under the pressure from their employers, landlords, or their immediate family members. Freedmen were ordered to leave the plantation without any payment of wages, because they, like Warren AIlen in Granville County, did not cultivate the land as their landlords had intended, or because, just as in HannibaI Young's case, they left the plantation without seeking prior permission from their employers. ln more extreme cases, the house rented by a freedman named Jerry Leath was broken in after midnight, and Leath, his wife, and his son were driven away by several other men including his employer himself. Many cases of whippings were also reported.
  A great majority of these cases of inter-racial (white-against-black) violence were caused by wide perception gaps between former slave owners and emancipated African Americans. For freed blacks, emancipation literally signified freedom from white control: in their own minds they had earned a "right" to exercise an exclusive control over their lives. Most white employers and landlords interpreted emancipation differently. Although they had agreed to offer economic compensation for whatever service provided by freed people, they demanded that such service be given in a courteous and respectful manner. They expected that all African Americans to act as their own faithful servants who would willingly satisfy their own whimsical needs. lt was almost inevitable, therefore, that any self-assertiveness displayed on the part of freed people was interpreted by whites as evidence of selfishness and insubordination.
  Some freedmen protected themselves and their family members by asserting custodial rights over their children. ln 1872, when he was informed that his son Young was whipped by his white employer's brother because he had taken "too long" to complete an assigned task, Daniel Bullock intervened with strong words: "No, don't do that. lf you want him whipped, l will do it to your satisfaction, as l have done before." By so insisting, Daniel expressed his belief that he himself as a guardian of his son, not his son's employer, should have the right to give punishment.
  As Daniel Bullock's case amply exemplified, emancipated African Americans generally accepted the patriarchal norm, and believed that their freedom and citizenship rights were dependent upon their ability to protect and provide for their wives and children. No wonder, therefore, that any affront to the notion of manhood on the part of African American men caused immediate reaction from them. ln Granville County, for example, Samuel Lawrence became enraged when he learned that the justice of peace had stepped in to "protect" his wife from beating. He responded that "she was his wife and he would prank with her as much as he pleased." ln a similar vein, a neighbor's comment on his joblessness severely aggravated Dave BurweII, and resulted in a spectacular family battle involving Dave, his wife Dicey and Dicey's sixteen-year-old daughter.
  The years between 1865 and 1885 were a crucial time in the history of African Americans. Not only did freed African American males have to negotiate with whites the actual terms of emancipation, but they had to establish their own families to safeguard their newly acquired rights. The themes of freedom and manhood permeated all phases of their lives. lt is small wonder, then, that the violence involving them should reflect these two themes.

Can Counter-Terrorist Novels Be Written Now?: From Mao II (1991) to Specimen Days (2005)


  ln 1995 the American press promptly called the Tokyo subway sarin poisoning a terrorist attack, reporting at this stage the transformation of terrorist networks and the difficulty in responding to a new kind of not-nation-sponsored terrorism. After September 11, 2001, however, the attention seems to have been shifted to tough measures against terrorism in terms of inter-and intra-national politics, owing to Bush's "with-us-or-against-us" doctrine as well as the threat of terrorist offenses exacerbated in the following years. ln American literature, terrorist novels have been more conspicuously published than before since the late 1980s, specifically in the wake of Sep. 11. Benjamin Kunkel, on the other hand, says this autumn that "(i)n terms of literary history, it's only now that the period before 9/11 is drawing to a close." This article examines today's relationship between terrorism and literary representation, dealing with MichaeI Cunningham's Specimen Days coming out this summer and Don DeLlillo's Mao II published in 1991, on the premise that the climate for contemporary terrorism had been already created before Sep. 11, as reported in the mid-1990s, and exploring what the difference, if still any, between pre-and post-Sep.11 terrorist novels is like.
  Mao II is ambivalent toward the literary legacy of a novelist's rivalry with a terrorist as a lonely revolutionist, in that it describes the endeavor of the protagonist, Bill (a novelist), to write back against terrorists or terror struck by them, while showing as well that they both live in the same late-capitalist, postmodern society, which dissolves any modern individualistic resistance to the hegemonic power. However, the failed enterprise of Bill's could be regarded as the epitome of the present novelistic project to write about/against terrorism in the copy culture. Bnll's story about a hostage threatened with death is merging into that of a young terrorist guard "living...with death," undermining the distinction between terror and attack, imaginative and real, or even hostage and terrorist, to the extent that the writer destroys his own business as well as himself. Thus, Bill's death caused by his "internal injury" can be taken as synonymous with the corollary of Derrida's "autoimmunitary process," where "a living being, in quasi-suicidal fashion, 'itself' works to destroy its own protection." ln this sense Mao II can be called a self-referntial, suicidal bombing text.
  ln "The Children's Crusade," the second story of the trilogy, Specimen Days, the female protagonist, Cat, prevents a suicidal bombing and determines to live with a boy-terrorist dismantled of bombs. This story appears to be a happy-ending tear-jerker, dealing with maternal affection. Actually, her days before getting to know him are described negatively in many ways. But her future with the (ex-) terrorist boy is not necessarily predicted as bright, but shadowed by the fact that she notices "[h]ere [is] a killer...[who] would decide that he finally love[s] her enough to murder her." Terror brought by terrorism is not only at what has happened but at what will happen. Therefore, a counter-terrorist attitude is to overcome previsioned fears about a future attack, which only produce a vicious circle of violence, and to offer (ex-) terrorists unconditional "hospitality" (in Derridian words) unprotected by an immune system against alterity, which is the only way of survival, however hard it may be. ln this sense, the story ending with Cat's decision to live with the young (ex-) terrorist and to "put it [a potential catastrophe] off from hour to hour and maybe from month to month or year to year" might be called a post-terrorist narrative. But yet this is no more than a decision: the details of her life with him are not actually delineated in this story or in the succeeding one in the trilogy.
  ln Mao II death and violence are inscribed in relief in the postmodern consumer culture and left as textual residues. The aftermath of Mao II, that is, a counter-terrorist narrative which can "absorb our terror," is about to be written but has not yet formed itself in its entirety in Specimen Days, or what can be called a book of delayed hospitality

Structured Violence as a Form of Southem Culture: The Emmett Till Case and Faulkner's "Dry September"


  This article is an attempt to explore the structured violence in the South as a form of culture, focusing on such an actual outburst of violence as the Emmett Till case and on William Faulkner's "Dry September" (1931) as a fictional rendering of it. ln The American Way of Violence (1972) Alphonso Pinkney detects the strong connection between American Calvinism and the Social Darwinism which helped to advance the tendency of American society to dichotomize human society into two groups such as the saved and the damned, the superior and the inferior, or the good and the evil--a dichotomization which was taken advantage of to justify black slavery and the massacre of Native Americans. William Styron presents in his masterpiece, Sophie's Choice (1979), the idea of the two greatest absolute evils in human history, which, in his view, were materialized in black slavery and the holocaust: the slavery as a collective social enforcement of white supremacy and the holocaust as an outcome of the 'overdetermination' of many social influences, that is, a composite agency of anti-Semitism and other factors such as religion, economics, politics, or nationalism.
  This article first highlights an episode in Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises (1926) in which Robert Cohn was awakened to his Jewish identity and the latent habitus of anti-Semitism at Princeton. We see the same kind of awakening in the Jewish character Nathan Landau in Sophie's Choice, who seems in the end to be crushed by the huge dogma of anti-Semitism. We can recognize the tremendous violence of anti-Semitism in society from the ordeal which the young LioneI Trilling experienced as a Jew at Princeton. ln the same vein, we can see the agony of Franz Fanon's Black Skin, White Masks (1967), a work that makes a splendid analysis of the great bias of European Christian culture towards regarding the color black as a stigma, as it is closely connected with Satan, evil, immorality, or darkness--a bias which, in association with the concept of the great chain of being, seems greatly responsible for the view of black people as racially inferior in the human scale. Toni Morrison also draws our attention to such problems as "the pain of being black" in tightly racialized American society which had been shaped not only by the prevalence of Social Darwinism in the late nineteenth century but also by the enforcement of the Jim Crow laws and the twisted interpretation of the Bible endorsed by the idea of white supremacy.
  The murder of Emmett Till, a fourteen-year-old black boy from Chicago, by two white supremacists, which took place in Money, Mississippi, in the summer of 1955, is symbolic of the structured violence, which resembles a Southern version of Louis Althusser's idea of "Ideological State Apparatuses" and which is based on the racial fanaticism peculiar to the Deep South. Morrison wrote a play entitled Dreaming Emmett, with the hope that the white and the black could make the nightmare their common memory. William Faulkner wrote a letter of grief and lamentation about this case to a newspaper, deploring the irredeemable violent bigotry of his native soil. ln "Dry September" Faulkner describes such bigotry in a Southern small town as revealed in the ex-soldier's effort to maintain "the power structure in which they 'protect' women and terrorize blacks." Nevertheless, we should feel the shock of recognition, as if we were dazzled by the deep chasm between actuality and fiction, when we read his mysterious 1931 letter published in the Memphis Commercial Appeal, a letter saying that lynch mobs "have a way of being right."

“Hollywood and Post-9/11 America”


  The images of 9/11, particularly those of two commercial jets plunging into the World Trade Center, have given so many people an illusion of watching a Hollywood movie. Where does such a sense of déjàvu come from? Our imagination is now so thoroughly contaminated by visual clichés produced by HoIlywood, and it may be possible to claim that the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers itself was an "imitation" of the Hollywood disaster film. lnteresting as it is, this type of argument remains highly problematic. The notions of "influence" and "imitation," which function as essential terms of such discourse, oversimplify the relation of reality and image as two distinct realms. Another missing element is the specific role played by the United States as a global hegemonic power; that is, HoIlywood is often brought up in a discussion as a way of evading questions concerning the new imperialism of the United States. Since 9/11, many films dealing with wars, terrorism, surveillance, pre-emptive attacks, and conspiracies of all kinds have been made. Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds (2005) is an intriguing example because it tries to deal with the questions of 9/11 and its aftermath by simultaneously staying within and going beyond its generic identity, i.e., a blockbuster action movie. lts ultimate "failure" shows the extreme difficulty of using a spectacle as a critical means of questioning the logic of spectacle where capital, military power, and neoconservative agendas are increasingly converging.

Representations of Violence in the Borderlands of the Virtual-Real: Visualization in American Psycho


  lf, as Guy Debord claims, "the spectacle is capital to such a degree of accumulation that it becomes an image," the conflation between capitalism and virtual reality should be noted as a major source of the current acceleration of violence in the United States. ln this paper, l reread Bret Easton Ellis's third novel, American Psycho, as an exemplary text in which the visceral serial-killings are described through the narrator's camera eye in the atmosphere of the late 80's. ln order to examine the relation between the texts and visual images, here l focus on two related films existing both inside and outside the novel: Brian De Palma's Body Double and an adaptation of this novel directed by Mary Harron.
  The narrative of the novel incorporates three key characteristics: "superficial signs," "body as image," and "bare body as Object." ln this triangular formation, the text shows how strictly Bateman's identity is bound to the hegemonic hierarchy of class and race, as well as sexuality, that is, to norms of compulsive heterosexuality. Bateman's killing drives are generated when these borders of difference are violated, and when he is forced to be aware of his own homosexuality. Repetitive performance of cultural roles, indispensable to survival in postmodern city life, requires accountability and responsibility as a healthy heterosexual man; the story's ending, in which Bateman successfully continues to pass as an elite businessman without being caught, is a metaphor for the man in the closet.
  The plot of Bateman's favorite film, Body Double, helps to illustrate Bateman's ambivalent sexuality more clearly. Carol Clover points out that pornography and horror genres provide viewers with the chance to traverse the fixed gender identification. If, as Clover argues, the gender roles of characters are finally inverted as "final girls" defeat serial killers, in American Psycho, it is Bateman who plays the role of both serial killer and "final girl" at the same time. This fact consequently underscores the ways in which Bateman's enthusiasm for Body Double is entangled with his androgynous aspects.
  On the other hand, the effect of Harron's strategy for adaptation, in which she cuts most of the sequences involving murders of women, described at length in the text, erases Bateman's transsexual aspects in the name of political correctness. The deletion of the brutal violence in Harron's film ends up depriving the audience of any sadomasochistic gaze and therefore, of any identification with Bateman. The adaptation also negates the power of the original text's indictment of compulsive heterosexuality.
  These differences, and the relation of the original text of American Psycho to its adaptation in general, indicate the possibilities of gender politics in censorship. However proximate virtual images and reality become, there has to be a distance between the viewer and the object. And it is in the space generated by this distance that the chance for intervention into the current violence lies. As representations of violence are projections of what America fears, the novel of American Psycho encapsulates the American psyche as an extreme violence toward life-sized human bodies.

Pimp Culture: Distorted Masculinity in the Hip Hop Generation


  Male violence is one of the serious problems in today's American society. Besides physical violence, what is peculiar in the United States is the extravagantly vulgar media representations which are often, explicitly or implicitly, violent and misogynistic. Quite a few scholars and journalists would admit that misogyny is the plague from which lots of male hip hop generationers suffer. Within hip hop culture, rappers often look down on women and offer negative representations of the male attitudes toward the opposite sex.
  "Pimp" is the key notion which has permeated through the public mind. What matters here is not a real-life pimp, but the representation of pimps which appears in every facet of popular culture. Rappers brag about the lifestyle of pimps. Many films and TV shows have pimp characters in them. The violence of pimps toward women is often overlooked and the outrageousness of pimps is excessively admired in popular culture.
  The pimp has become one of the American icons. While prostitution and male violence are global issues, the cultural representation of the pimp is exclusively an American one. Therefore, this paper examines, through the analysis of a series of pimp narratives, how "pimp culture" affects the configuration of masculinity.
  According to the dictionary definition, a pimp is "a person who solicits customers for a prostitute or a brothel." This does not explain well enough what it means in the African-American community. More often than not, pimps do not solicit any customers. They have a strong aversion to labor. With the use of violence, they control their prostitutes and force them to "catch tricks." ln a sense, they challenge the value of labor and revolt against the American economic system. ln the early twentieth century, most African-American males did not have the decent way to be successful in the American mainstream.
  Malcolm X represents this lack of opportunity. His Autobiography (1965) describes his life on the street in his youth as a "hustler". Autobiography could be regarded as a precursor of pimp narratives. The most influential of pimp narratives is Iceberg Slim's Pimp (1969). The pimp protagonist in this autobiographic novel finds the most efficient way to show his ability. He plays the game for his own survival, and this leads him to incarceration. Survival, incarceration and redemption are the common procedure in the writings of Malcolm X and lceberg Slim. The early pimp narratives depict the bitterness of life in the African-American community.
  Then came the second wave of pimp culture. Survival and redemption were not so attractive for the latecomers. They became more violent and predatory. They pursue flashy, flamboyant style so much that the term pimp is now applied to any figure whose life is devoted to getting big money and acquiring extravagant clothes, cars and jewelry. While the early pimp narratives show the alternative way of life in the oppressive American society, the prevalent pimp culture, having reduced to a capitalist tool, misleads the young into acquiring the distorted notion of "coolness" and manliness.

The Logic behind Nativism; The Case for Lyman Beecher's Plea for the West


  Historically, the United States of America achieved national integration with a national creed, "liberty and equality." On the other hand, it is widely known that movements to exclude immigrants and colored races have been developed. Such movements, which are often referred to as "nativism," have been criticized as one of the "vicious traditions" in the United States which has continued since the 19th century, and studied at the same time. ln previous studies, nativism was mostly explained as a thought or movement for "strengthening of social integration by exclusion." For examination of this understanding, one of the representative books written by Lyman Beecher during the groundbreaking years of nativism, Plea for the West (1835), is analyzed in this paper.
  As a result of my consideration, at least in terms of the concept of nativism developed by Beecher, l concluded that it was not a simple discussion of "social integration by exclusion." To avoid the danger of internal collapse caused by a flow of immigrants, Beecher proposed to educate Catholic immigrants to share the ideals of America for their voluntary abandonment of a un-American sense of values. To implement such education, it was necessary for the Americans who interacted with immigrants to recover their respect for the ideals of America, and to re-establish a solid society based on a "common system of value." Based on the reality that alien elements existed in the country, he tried to reconstruct a community of "Americans" on one hand by homogenizing strangers as "Americans," and on the other hand, by having Americans return to their ideals. This is what he developed as vintage nativism during the groundbreaking years of nativism.
  Of course, his vintage nativism had a lot of faults. One of them was that his beliefs often led to a traditional anti-Catholic feeling. ln addition, his mindset in the educational system lacked consideration for a multiple sense of values. Nonetheless, the fact that his vintage nativism denied physical exclusion of Catholic immigrants, and rather strongly recognized the importance of homogenization of immigrants by education, was an important point to be examined. Such logic may consist of one of the intellectual traditions in terms of national integration of the nation of immigrants, the United States. At the time when diversity in American society started to threaten national integration, one of the important advocacies of nativism was to plant the concept of "support of the ideals of America" on each American by national education, and to foster identity as descendants who take over the "spirits of founding fathers." By such analysis, it should be easily understandable why nativism as ethos has intermittently been rising in American history.

The Historical Origin of American Unilateralism: The French Mission and the Adams Administration


  At that time when George Washington launched his administration, there were potentially three views of foreign policies. The first was the "pro-British" line by the "Hamiltonian Federalists," which aimed to preserve and increase American interests through participating in European diplomacy. The second was the "pro-French" line by the Jeffersonian, which was based on Republican ideology and gained popularity in Revolutionary America. The third was the "neutrality" policy, which George Washington asserted to be the national policy. The last policy was based on a view that the United States should take advantage of natural conditions of the American continent and insulate itself from the old world diplomacy.
  Historically, neutrality dominated early American foreign policy. However, the historical moment when this idea was established has not been necessarily made clear. That is to say, while we accept that Washington's diplomatic thought is the basis of American foreign policy, we have not been able to confirm, for certain, when neutrality as foreign policy was established at all. When we reconsider the idea that neutrality was not axiomatic in the founding age and that this foreign policy was the first insistence of unilateralism in the newborn country, we can understand that the moment it was established was indeed significant.
  The objective of this article is to illustrate that neutrality was a policy that was deliberately chosen out of other foreign policies, through the analysis of the negotiation between the United States and France, in the period of the John Adams administration. Washington's diplomatic thought --neutrality-- was revealed in the middle of the Anglo-Franco war. He concluded "Jay's Treaty" with England to avoid warfare, although the Franco-American alliance of 1778 existed at the time. This may be labeled as the beginning of neutrality. However, "Jay's Treaty" itself corresponded to "Hamiltonian Federalists" line which denied "pro-French" line; in fact, the warfare with France emerged. Hence, the establishment of neutrality required dissolving the Franco-American alliance and concluding a peace treaty with France. This meant "pro-British" line had to be denied too. The main objective of the Adams administration was to deal with this difficult problem. When Adams achieved his goal, "Hamiltonian Federalists" were removed from American foreign policy and "neutrality" was established.
  Certainly for "Hamiltonian Federalists," the policy of John Adams was a betrayal to the Federalists, and as a result, was defeated in the 1800 presidential election. However, he won over in the area of policy, in exchange for party politics.

The Problem of Nuclear Proliferation to West Germany and Eisenhower’s Response


  This article focuses on the Eisenhower administration's responses to the problem of nuclear proliferation among Western European allies, especially the Federal Republic of Germany. ln the second half of the 1950s, the US government tried to prevent West Germany from developing its own nuclear weapons. Washington used two measures to discourage Bonn from seeking to develop such weapons. First, as many scholars have pointed out, the Eisenhower administration established the NATO nuclear forces to provide NATO with US nuclear weapons, thereby making it unnecessary for NATO members to maintain their own nuclear arsenals. Second, Washington sought an agreement with Moscow which would prohibit non-nuclear countries--including many US allies--from manufacturing such weapons. This article claims that the Eisenhower administration pursued these two policies simultaneously.
  The Eisenhower administration's response to the problem of nudear proliferation among its Western European allies, including West Germany, demonstrates an important aspect of US-Western European alliance relations during the Cold War. Western Europe was an important "sphere of influence" over which the United States could wield an overwhelming influence. lf a Western European country had developed nuclear weapons, that country might have decided to pursue its own course, independent of the United States. ln other words, Washington could not afford an independent nuclear power to emerge inside its own "sphere of influence."
  ln the second half of the 1950s and early 1960s, of the Western allies, France had the strongest ambition to develop its own nuclear force as a mean of asserting its independence from the United States. The country which concerned Washington most, however, was West Germany. The memory of two world wars was so strong that the rearmament of West Germany had taken five years and had required "double containment" of the Soviets as well as the West Germans through NATO. A nuclearized West Germany could have revitalized worries about the ex-enemy and weakened, if not destroyed, NATO -- the cornerstone of the US "sphere of influence" in Western Europe. As a result, the Eisenhower administration's efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation in Western Europe focused upon West Germany.
  Washington tried to prevent Bonn's development of nuclear weapons not only by establishing the NATO nuclear forces but also by reaching an international agreement against nuclear proliferation with the Soviets. The latter meant that the administration was willing to overcome its Cold War rivalry in order to maintain its "sphere of influence" in Western Europe. This willingness reveals how significant the nuclear proliferation issue was to Washington. At the same time, the Eisenhower administration insisted on the simultaneous pursuit of two measures: the NATO nuclear forces and a non-proliferation agreement, in spite of an apparent contradiction between the two. This contradiction was at least one cause of Washington's failure to reach agreement with Moscow. At the same time, this contradiction was more a natural result of Washington's policy aim to maintain its "sphere of influence" than a deviation from it.

Rival PoliticaI Visions of the SociaI Security Act of 1935


  The Social Security Act of 1935 was the most important social legislation in the New Deal Era, along with the National Labor Relations Act. lt provided for Unemployment lnsurance, Old-Age Pensions, Old-Age Assistance, Aid to Dependent Children, Maternal and Child Welfare, Public Health Works and Aid to the the Blind.
  A considerable number of studies have been done on the details of the legislative process. Over the past few decades, several studies have been conducted on the rivalry among the New Deal Liberals. Although studies have been done of individual behaviors and the policymaking mechanism, little attention has been paid to the rival political visions of the role of the Social Security Act.
  So this article examines the debates that took place in the legislative process of the Social Security Act, especially focusing on the controversy among the business conservatives, the business Liberals and Liberal Democrats, and depicts the political vision of the New Deal liberals. The core group of the business conservatives was the NationaI Association of Manufacturers. The business Liberals were composed of liberal employers who had access to the policy-making process of Roosevelt Administration. ln this article, l will take up Robert F. Wagner, one of the most influential Democratic Senators on behalf of Liberal Democrats.
  The evaluation of the economic effect of the federal social security program made by the business conservatives was opposed to that made by the New Deal liberals. The business conservatives criticized the establishment of the social security system, saying it undermined the incentive to work and hindered the recovery process.
  The New Deal liberals argued that establishing the Social Security program as a national system encouraged national industrial recovery. They insisted that business recovery was possible only with a coincident wide diffusion of purchasing power. So they shared the belief that it was necessary to regulate corporate behavior by legislation in order to achieve industrial recovery through distribution of purchasing power. But they did not find agreement on legislation to enforce regulation of business activities. There were different understandings of the actual effect of the SociaI Security Act between the business Liberals and LiberaI Democrats, particularly concerning the redistribution effect of the unemployment insurance program.
  On the one hand, giving industry the incentive to stabilize employment was the primary concern of the business Liberals. The chief purpose of the Social Security Act, according to the business Liberals, was not the redistribution of wealth but rather that there should be incentive for employers to reduce unemployment. On the other hand, Robert Wagner emphasized the chief merit of unemployment insurance was the transfer of purchasing power to the unemployed and their dependents by means of unemployment benefit payments. He said that the SociaI Security program with unemployment insurance and old-age pensions would be a tremendous step in bringing about not only economic stabilization, but also regularization of employment and security in old age. So he thought that the goals of business recovery and social reform were compatible and could be achieved by enacting the Social Security program.

Other Issues

Special Feature: Nuclear Space, Issue 42
Special Feature: Nature and Environment, Issue 41
March 2005, Issue 39