Balancing Two Worlds

Wesley Yang’s article “Paper Tigers” in the May 8 New York magazine has initiated a lot of discussion around the Internet about the challenges faced by Asian Americans on campus and in the workplace. Looking for more perspectives on these issues? For personal narratives from a range of Asian American college students, see Balancing Two Worlds: Asian American College Students Tell Their Life Stories, edited by Andrew Garrod and Robert Kilkenny.

Balancing Two Worlds

Daniel P. Aldrich in the Media, continued . . .

Daniel P. Aldrich, author of Site Fights: Divisive Facilities and Civil Society in Japan and the West, continues to make the rounds of the media. Here are some selected stories:


Public Anger Against Nuclear Power Mounts in Japan (NPR)

The Human Fallout for Japan (The Daily Beast)

Fukushima, Indian Point and Fantasy (New York Times)

Please visit Daniel P. Aldrich’s blog here.

Daniel P. Aldrich in the Media, continued . . .

Daniel P. Aldrich in the Media

Daniel P. Aldrich, author of Site Fights: Divisive Facilities and Civil Society in Japan and the West, continues to lend his expertise to journalists as they attempt to understand and explain the ongoing disaster in Japan:

Aldrich appeared on MSNBC’s The Last Word on March 22. See video here.
At The New Republic, Aldrich wrote on the Japanese government’s role in promoting and siting commerical nuclear power plants: With a Mighty Hand: The Japanese government’s influential and manipulative role in commercial nuclear power.
Aldrich is also quoted in a March 20, 2011 New York Times article: “Too Late” for Some Tsunami Victims to Rebuild on Japanese Coast

Daniel P. Aldrich in the Media

Daniel P. Aldrich on the Nuclear Crisis in Japan

Daniel P. Aldrich, author of Site Fights: Divisive Facilities and Civil Society in Japan and the West, has been much in demand as an expert this week. In his book, he talks about the processes that lead to the siting of controversial facilities. His book includes a description of a formal invitation made in 1961 after a public vote; because of the prospect of jobs and tax revenue, residents of Okuma village welcomed TEPCO’s first complex of commercial nuclear reactors near their homes in Fukushima. Aldrich has appeared on CNBC and has been interviewed and quoted in media outlets ranging from Voice of America to the Beijing News as well as providing background information for news reports in more than a dozen outlets, such as this Reuters report:

Japanese power companies hid nuclear safety problems: WikiLeaks (Toronto Star)

Daniel P. Aldrich on the Nuclear Crisis in Japan

Insight into Tunisia

Readers looking for background on the upheaval in Tunisia have sought out Eva Bellin’s 2002 book Stalled Democracy: Capital, Labor, and the Paradox of State-Sponsored Development, which focuses on Tunisia as a classic example of a stalled democracy. The Foreign Affairs review of the book said: “In a detailed study of Tunisia, Bellin finds that some governmental development schemes that explicitly encourage the private sector can better enable private capital and labor to defend their interests. Stalled Democracy contributes to our understanding of the relationship between development and democratization throughout the world.”

Insight into Tunisia

Up in the Air revisited . . .

The Steven Slater story has drawn attention to the annoyances to which airline employees and passengers alike are subjected these days. In 2008, Cornell University Press published a book that sheds light on airline practices and provides useful recommendations for improvements:

Up in the Air: How Airlines Can Improve Performance by Engaging Their Employees by Greg J. Bamber, Jody Hoffer Gittell, Thomas A. Kochan, and Andrew von Nordenflycht

“And you thought the passengers were mad. Airline employees are fed up, too-with pay cuts, increased workloads and management’s miserly ways, which leave workers to explain to often-enraged passengers why flying has become such a miserable experience.”—The New York Times, December 22, 2007

When both an industry’s workers and its customers report high and rising frustration with the way they are being treated, something is fundamentally wrong. In response to these conditions, many of the world’s airlines have made ever-deeper cuts in services and their workforces. Is it too much to expect airlines, or any other enterprise, to provide a fair return to investors, high-quality reliable service to their customers, and good jobs for their employees? Measured against these three expectations, the airline industry is failing. In the first five years of the twenty-first century alone, U.S. airlines lost a total of $30 billion while shedding 100,000 jobs, forcing the remaining workers to give up over $15 billion in wages and benefits. Combined with plummeting employee morale, shortages of air traffic controllers, and increased congestion and flight delays, a total collapse of the industry may be coming.

Is this state of affairs inevitable? Or is it possible to design a more sustainable, less volatile industry that better balances the objectives of customers, investors, employees, and the wider society? Does deregulation imply total abrogation of government’s responsibility to oversee an industry showing the clear signs of deterioration and increasing risk of a pending crisis?

Greg J. Bamber, Jody Hoffer Gittell, Thomas A. Kochan, and Andrew von Nordenflycht explore such questions in a well-informed and engaging way, using a mix of quantitative evidence and qualitative studies of airlines from North America, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Up in the Air provides clear and realistic strategies for achieving a better, more equitable balance among the interests of customers, employees, and shareholders. Specifically, the authors recommend that firms learn from the innovations of companies like Southwest and Continental Airlines in order to build a positive workplace culture that fosters coordination and commitment to high-quality service, labor relations policies that avoid long drawn-out conflicts in negotiating new agreements, and business strategies that can sustain investor, employee, and customer support through the ups and downs of business cycles.

Up in the Air revisited . . .

Sex, Drugs, and Body Counts gets a rave from Slate

In the July 14 edition of Slate, it becomes clear that Jack Shafer likes Sex, Drugs, and Body Counts, the new book edited by Peter Andreas and Kelly M. Greenhill, QUITE A LOT:

“If you’re a journalist, a gluttonous consumer of news, or are easily swayed by the slapdash, stop what you’re doing and go buy a copy of Sex, Drugs, and Body Counts: The Politics of Numbers in Global Crime and Conflict. Set aside a couple of hours tonight to read three or four of the essays that academics Peter Andreas and Kelly M. Greenhill collected in it. Then, sit down in front of your computer and send me an e-mail to thank me for helping to end your enslavement to the dodgy numbers that taint journalism and public policy. It’s not just a good book. It’s a great book. And it belongs forever on your bookshelf.”

Read the whole article here: By the Numbers

Sex, Drugs, and Body Counts gets a rave from Slate

Cornell author interviewed on NPR’s “Morning Edition”

Kate Bronfenbrenner, the Director of Labor Education Research at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and the coauthor, editor, and coeditor of several books with Cornell University Press including, most recently, Global Unions, was interviewed this morning on NPR’s “Morning Edition” in a story about the Mary Kay Henry, the new president of the 2.2 million-member Service Employees International Union.

Cornell author interviewed on NPR’s “Morning Edition”

Robert Jervis reviewed in the Wall Street Journal

In the February 24th edition of the Wall Street Journal, Gabriel Schoenfeld reviewed Why Intelligence Fails: Lessons from the Iranian Revolution and the Iraq War by Robert Jervis. Schoenfeld writes:

“In ‘Why Intelligence Fails,’ Mr. Jervis examines two important U.S. intelligence lapses and tries to account for what went awry. After both, the CIA hired Mr. Jervis—a longtime student of international affairs—to help the agency sort out its mistakes. He thus brings an invaluable perspective as a smart outsider with sufficient inside access to appraise the agency’s blind spots.”

Read the whole review here: The Slippery Nature of Secrets

Robert Jervis reviewed in the Wall Street Journal

Background on Fiji

The Mother Jones report on the sociopolitical and environmental context for the production of Fiji Water—much circulated via the social networking media this past week—has drawn attention to that island nation. Those looking for background on Fiji’s political conditions will be interested in our recent State of Suffering: Political Violence and Community Survival in Fiji by Susanna Trnka.

Fiji Water: Spin the Bottle (Mother Jones)

Background on Fiji