Is Lady Gaga a feminist icon?

Is the meat-wearing Bad Romance singer more than just another derivative pop star? Two of our writers tackle the Lady Gaga question – have your say below
Lady Gaga at Lollapalooza

Lady Gaga performs during the 2010 Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago, Illinois. Photograph: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Kira Cochrane: 'Lady Gaga exposes femininity as a sham'

The anticipated highlight of the show was – depressingly enough – a reheated argument. Before the MTV Video Music awards this year, all the talk was of whether pop princess Taylor Swift would address the debacle of 2009, when Kanye West barged on stage, interrupted her acceptance speech, and suggested Beyoncé should have won her award. Would Swift refer to this lightly in song? (She would. Yawn.) Would Kanye refer to this lightly in rap? (Not directly. Sigh.) So far, so stultifying.

And then, there she was. Lady Gaga, the big winner of the night, striding on stage in a dress made of meat. Or what looked like meat. Either way, there was the impression of sinews, fat, of oozing, bloody discharge. The outfit shouldn't have been a surprise. Just last week the singer was pictured on the cover of Japanese Vogue, dressed in a meat bikini. But what raises a mere eyebrow at a photoshoot can raise the roof, blood pressure and an avalanche of questions when worn in public. What did the meat dress mean? Was it a comment on the treatment of women in the music industry? Was it another of Gaga's death references? Did it reflect the boundaries of the body – representing Gaga's own flesh, turned inside out and extending beyond all expected limitations? Was it a comment on mutability? Or was it just an outfit worn to grab the maximum share of the world's attention?

In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres after the show, Gaga offered her own interpretation. She had come to the awards ceremony with four former servicemen and women, all of whom had been forced to leave the US military because of the highly discriminatory, horribly dated "Don't ask, don't tell" policy (you can be gay, says this policy, so long as you never, ever reveal it). Gaga suggested her dress had been part of that statement. "If we don't stand up for what we believe in," she said, "if we don't fight for our rights, pretty soon we're going to have as many rights as the meat on our bones." Then, as if she couldn't quite bear to pin herself down to a single meaning, she picked up a copy of Japanese Vogue, and pointed at the cover. "I am not a piece of meat," she said, with feeling.

The meat dress attracted attention at a time when Gaga's very unpredictability had begun to seem predictable, when her constant innovation had threatened to drag. Some of the writers and commentators I spoke to for this piece – many of whom love her – professed that they'd nevertheless become slightly weary of the newness, of the fact that every day Gaga would wear something, say something, do something that seemed primed to provoke a blog, an article, a comment. Shock will eat itself. And then, most of those same writers laughed and admitted the irony. None could name any other major pop star, or pop culture personality right now, who they could say the same about – any other artist who could stand accused on the grounds that they were just too impossibly inventive.

Gaga's latest outfit broke through that torpor, and revived questions that have circulated since she first appeared in the charts just two years ago. Who is the 24-year-old pop star formerly known as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta? Is she a brilliant performance artist – or an empty provocateur? Is she driven by ideas, or neediness? Is she a feminist icon, or just a slightly offbeat sex object? Is she an important, influential artist who will endure – or another derivative desperado?

Camille Paglia has already been to work on some of these questions in a piece in the Sunday Times last weekend. It wasn't positive. She called Gaga a "ruthless recycler of other people's work", and suggested there was an "essential depressiveness and spiritual paralysis" about her. She compared her negatively with David Bowie, Madonna, Marlene Dietrich and Elton John. And what seemed to irk her most was what she considers Gaga's fundamental lack of sex appeal. "Gaga isn't sexy at all," she wrote. "She's like a gangly marionette or plasticised android. How could a figure so calculated and artificial, so clinical and strangely antiseptic, so stripped of genuine eroticism have become the icon of her generation? Can it be that Gaga represents the exhausted end of the sexual revolution? . . . Marlene and Madonna gave the impression, true or false, of being pansexual. Gaga, for all her writhing and posturing, is asexual."

What was interesting about Paglia's article was its implication that, in order to be a star – and particularly a female star – you have to be sexually appealing. This was underlined by her list of female singers she does admire. "Among the magnetic presences in music today," she wrote, "are tigresses of charismatic sensuality or gamines of buoyant charm – Beyoncé, Shakira, Rihanna, Lily Allen, Nelly Furtado." All of which apparently ignored the fact that, for her fans, one of Gaga's key attractions is precisely her dismissal of traditional, feminine sex appeal, of the need to be charming, of the values and aesthetic of other female singers: the ripe, pert bodies, the pretty, familiar costumes.

Of course, Gaga does sometimes embrace the iconography of traditional sex appeal. She often wears a basque, or other underwear, and vertiginously high heels; just this week, after the MTV awards, she wandered through an airport in bra, knickers, ripped fishnets and a gold leather jacket, a pair of handcuffs swinging from her waist. In her Telephone video – which attracted huge interest, but wasn't her finest hour – she danced in stilettos and a stars and stripes bikini, aping sexploitation films such as Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! a reference that just seemed worn and wearisome.

But for every bikini, for every batted eyelash, Gaga introduces intimations of the grotesque, the repulsive. The meat dress is an obvious case in point. As is her appearance at the end of the Bad Romance video, lying beside a smoking corpse, sparks putt-putting from her bra. And then there was her performance on The X Factor last year, singing that same song. She and her dancers gyrated in an enormous bath – so far, so kooky-but-palatable - and then Gaga perched on a toilet. I repeat: a toilet. There's almost nothing that could have been more subversive; as the feminist writer, Melissa McEwan, points out, "there is an episode of Sex and the City where Carrie isn't able to go to the bathroom in Big's apartment". For a singer – and, again, especially a female singer – to introduce these kind of references into a performance, in such a matter-of-fact way, with no wink or humour, was genuinely astounding.

In some ways, Gaga's entire persona seems to question what's expected of women. It's there in the internal contradiction of her name: "Lady" with its suggestions of gentility, sweetness, high breeding; "Gaga" with its intimations of infantility, madness, antic spirit. She has often been compared with a drag queen and, in many ways, this seems apt. Part of the brilliance and beauty of drag, of course, is that it can potentially expose sex roles – most often femininity – as a performance. A drag queen in enormous false eyelashes, teetering heels, a tight dress, heavy makeup, a voluminous wig, talon-like nails, is mimicking a woman, while underlining that what's expected of women is in no way natural. With her increasingly bizarre getups, Gaga does the same.

In fact, she exposes femininity as a sham in all sorts of ways. If the typically feminine woman is supposed to be simpering, seductive, weak, manipulated – essentially submissive – Gaga kicks against all these qualities. There have been suggestions that her fame, prominence and phenomenal success is based on the power and talent of the people she works with, that she's just a puppet of a corporate machine. But this seems highly unlikely. She has spoken of her early fights with her record label over her aesthetic, saying that "the last thing a young woman needs is another picture of a sexy pop star, writhing in sand, covered in grease, touching herself". As Dodai Stewart, writer and editor for feminist blog Jezebel.com says, "record labels are obviously corporate, the music industry is obviously corporate. But, for instance, I don't think that her appearing with the soldiers on the red carpet is manufactured. I think that that's consistent with what she's been saying from the beginning."

One of the other qualities that is always considered central to being a woman is a desire for a partner, love, romance. Gaga has made some surprising pronouncements on this front before – on one occasion she said that she believes "in certain institutions: cooking, serving dinner, taking care of my family. So I consider myself quite the lady." As McEwan notes though, there have been rumours of boyfriends, but "unlike Madonna, who has always famously lived with some guy, and everyone knows her husband, her boyfriend's name, and what they're doing, Gaga is really an entity unto herself. She's not famously partnered, which I think is remarkable. I've read occasionally that she's dating somebody, but I've never really paid attention to it, and neither has the press. I suspect that's because she's allowed to be independently sexual in a way that other young women aren't." Where Jennifer Aniston's single status is constantly picked over, Gaga has carved out a space where she can stand alone, and that loneliness actually heightens, rather than diminishes, her power.

This loneliness is also emphasised by her costumes, many of which act as exo-skeletons, essentially cages within which she performs. While most women in the spotlight are intent on appearing as small as possible – and Gaga is certainly physically tiny, a 5ft 2in stripling – her costumes are often bulky, lumpy, tough, hard, impenetrable. She has appeared encased in concentric metal hoola hoops, in a coat made of Kermits, a skirt made of a Muppet's head, a multitude of masks, studs, lace and latex, crowns and feathers and a massive lurex tent. McEwan sees these outfits as a commentary on female consent; a woman taking ownership of her body and keeping others at arm's length. "She's a performance artist," she says, "and a lot of what she does is physically representative of this outer shell. The gyroscope outfit was just ridiculously distancing – as was the time she wore the Kermit outfit. You couldn't hug her, even if you wrapped your arms around her. You wouldn't be anywhere close, because she wears these outfits that are physically distancing. I think that's an affected and deliberate look that says: you can't touch me . . . She's very positive about her fans, she reaches out to them, loves them, talks very fondly to them from the stage. But her suits of armour say that they can't just walk up and touch her. Nobody can."

Gaga's outfits are distancing and, in some ways, dehumanising. In fact, the downside of her act – the fact that the performance, is, as Paglia rightly says, so artificial at all times – is that very little of the real, the emotional, the passionate, is ever allowed to leak through. We never, ever get to see or understand who she really is. Gaga seems to live inside a mass of contradictions: one moment she says she's not a feminist, "I hail men"; the next she's declaring she is a feminist, and making feminist remarks ("When I say to you, there is nobody like me, and there never was, that is a statement I want every woman to feel and make about themselves"). Is this slipping and sliding some form of evolution, or just a sign of someone who is terrified of being pinned down?

The stories that do emerge about life behind the costumes are often windy tabloid tales of exhaustion or weight loss, which can seem like desperate attempts to turn her into this year's Britney Spears or Amy Winehouse, just another female car crash. "They've tried everything," Gaga told Rolling Stone earlier this year, "when they start saying that you have extra appendages [it's been suggested that she has a penis] you have to assume that they're unable to destroy you. I've got scratch marks all over my arms, and they say I'm a heroin addict. It's from my costumes. When I pass out onstage, they say that I'm burning out, when I have my own a) personal health issues, and b) it's fucking hot up there and I'm busting my ass every night."

I hope the media don't succeed in destroying her. I don't love Gaga – to have a really emotional response to her, you have to love surface, pure performance, you have to love the work of someone such as Andy Warhol, whom Gaga directly references, whose creations were obviously never about heart. But I do admire her. I think she's fascinating. And I think she makes us question what women today are, and should be. Most importantly, she doesn't give a fuck what anyone else thinks. And, in terms of traditional femininity, nothing could be more radical than that.

Kira Cochrane
Lady Gaga in Las Vegas  
Lady Gaga performs in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photograph: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Hadley Freeman: 'A Grace Jones copyist, but with worse music'

Her recent songs, I grant you, aren't terrible. Not the earlier stuff, of course: Love Game, Just Dance, Eh Eh – to love those is to love watered-down rehashes of those famous titans of the musical world, Whigfield and Ace of Bass. Bad Romance and Telephone are fine, although they are basically the musical equivalent of cocaine – initially fun but ultimately unsatisfying, leading one to listen to them again and again in search of something that seemed to be there once. This is a brilliant tactic for success in the short term but makes the songs about as ephemeral as, well, bad drugs.

Yet Stefani Germanotta's celebrity status (sorry – I just physically cannot make my fingers type the word "Gaga" in a sentence that is intended to have an actual point) has nothing to do with her music. It's to do with her persona, one that has been repeatedly described, with no discernible irony, as "original", "feminist" and "iconic", with the latter two qualities being dependent on the first, which is precisely where the whole argument falls apart. From her name (which she ripped from a Queen song) to her music to her every look, everything has been done before. Even the meat dress she wore this week was done by Elsa Schiaparelli more than 70 years ago. This is not making a knowing cultural reference, it's not having a single idea of one's own. Now, lack of originality isn't necessarily a bad thing – heaven knows Madonna copied plenty of people along the way. But it is a problem when originality is supposed to be one's greatest quality. The fact is, she is little more than a Grace Jones copyist with more gratuitous nudity and worse music.

I spent a day with Germanotta last year for a magazine article and, my God, I can tell you, I did not feel like I'd spent 24 hours basking in the light of a modern-day icon at the end of it. I felt like I'd been stuck with a particularly difficult girl from my old school days. Which was precisely the case.

Despite Germanotta's fondness for focusing on her time living on the Lower East Side and, as she is so fond of recounting in interviews, chuffing down cocaine (which might explain her music), she, like me, went to a stuffy school on New York's Upper East Side, which doesn't have quite the same cachet as hanging out on Avenue D. Naively, I told her about this connection between us, thinking she might enjoy the common ground. Her response was to flounce out of the room and not talk to me for an hour. It's hard to pretend you're someone else with somebody who knows how you used to look in your school PE kit.

She repeatedly told me how smart she is, which she proved by tapping her head every time she said the word "smart" and at the end of the day Madonna, whom Gaga was supposed to meet later (the meeting of icons!), bailed. I always liked Madonna.
Hadley Freeman
• Love the lady or does she drive you gaga? Leave a comment below or email g2feedback@guardian.co.uk


《衛報》:奧斯本債務削減方案遭到新質疑英國財政大臣奧斯本(George Osborne)為英國量身打造的預算赤字削減方案近期遭到了極具影響力的智囊團Compass的質疑。他們警告稱,當前英國政黨正無疑是拿1000億英 鎊的資金為該國未來的經濟增速下賭注。奧斯本曾表示,刺激私有部門復蘇可能會縮小該國經濟萎縮帶來的差距。但對這一關鍵假定,Compass在發佈的一份 報告中對此提出質疑。他們表示,目前已有跡象顯示英國經濟增速在自今年夏季後就開始放緩。 

Chancellor accused of £100bn economic growth gamble by Compass

Report by Compass thinktank casts doubt on George Osborne's assumption that private sector investment will fill gap left by state
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne
Thinktank Compass has said the chancellor, George Osborne, is taking a £100bn gamble with the UK economy. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA

George Osborne's plan to slash Britain's budget deficit came under fresh fire from the left today when the influential thinktank Compass warned that the coalition was taking a £100bn gamble on economic growth.

Amid signs the economy has weakened since the summer, a Compass report questioned the chancellor's key assumption that a revitalised private sector would fill the gap left by the shrinking state.

The report, The £100bn Gamble, says: "Everyone is agreed that growth is the only way out of this economic situation but the government's hope is that this will come about by simply creating 'space' for private initiative. It has an agenda for cuts but not for growth."

Osborne, using forecasts provided by the Office for Budget Responsibility, believes the economy will shrug off the effects of his austerity measures and grow by well over 2% on average for the next five years.

The chancellor says financial markets will be reassured by the government's plan to reduce the deficit and that this will keep interest rates low enough to stimulate private sector spending and investment. But contenders for the Labour leadership have been stepping up their pressure on the government's growth strategy in recent weeks following figures showing a slackening housing market, rising unemployment and a sharp fall in retail sales.

The Compass study said that if the government's "gamble" on the private sector failed and the economy grew by 1.3% on average, rather than by the 2%-plus expected, then the cumulative loss to Britain's economy over the course of the current parliament would be 6.7% of national output – or £94bn.
Zoe Gannon, one of the report's authors, said: "Over the medium to long term, a credible plan to reduce the deficit is necessary. This should balance sensible spending reductions in non-desirable public expenditure with growth-inducing investment in long-term green infrastructure, and a fair rebalancing of the tax system."

The report suggests an alternative to coalition's cuts involving a financial transactions tax, abolishing tax havens and a 50% income tax band at £100,000.

Gannon said the recovery was not secure and that by "focusing obsessively, almost recklessly, on the deficit this government risks damaging potential green shoots and private sector growth.

"A severe double dip appears unlikely but if the government cannot secure strong growth it will be sentencing this country to high unemployment and an increasingly stagnant economy."

Gannon said the 1.3% growth estimate made by Compass was "conservative" and higher than Japan had managed in its so-called "lost decade" following the collapse of its stock market bubble in the late 1980s. The Compass report said a failure of unregulated financial markets caused the crisis rather than state excess.

目前,歐盟相關當局已經對北京是否涉嫌不當向中國企業,如華為和中興通訊生產的數據機提供補助 事宜展開調查。據瞭解,此次調查是歐盟近期對華生產的軟體保護器展開的三項調查中的其中一項。均是在比利時數據機生產商OPTION提出申訴後做出的。因 為該公司近日提起了對中國傾銷數據機的申訴,稱中國無線數據機對歐洲的同類產品造成了負面影響,而Option是歐盟數據機的唯一生產商。 

對於近期市場傳言的國際貨幣基金組織(IMF)已經向愛爾蘭提供了救 助貸款一事,IMF在本月17日對外闢謠稱,此事純屬不實報導。據悉,這一謠傳 目前已經導致市場投資者幾近恐慌並將愛爾蘭的債務保險成本推至了歷史新高。目前愛爾蘭信貸違約互換(credit default swaps)已經上漲0.38個基點至4.25個基點,創出歷史新高。10年期國債收益率攀升31個基點至6.5%,比德國基準債務利率高出4.10個基 點。

傳愛爾蘭陷財困 國債息差創新高


歐洲債市再掀波濤,前天有報道稱經濟陷困的愛爾蘭政府,正考慮向國際貨幣基金組織(IMF)或歐盟尋求緊急融資,消息加劇市場憂慮,導致愛爾蘭債券遭拋售,並波及葡萄牙債券受壓。  政府急否認求助IMF   愛爾蘭財政部前晚否認報道,指有關謠言絕對失實,IMF亦強調該國毋須任何援助,但事件反映市場對愛爾蘭等經濟較差的歐元區國家仍然神經緊張。愛爾蘭將於下周二拍賣2014年和2018年期債券,總值15億歐元(約152億港元),料受事件影響,當局將須付出更高借貸成本。   

《愛爾蘭獨立報》前日引述巴克萊資本早前發表報告稱,如果金融業出現更多的意外虧損和經濟狀況惡化,愛爾蘭政府可能步希臘後塵,需要尋求外界救助。報道指愛爾蘭政府已「危險地接近」向IMF和歐盟求助的地步,消息觸發愛爾蘭國債遭拋售,銀行股也沽壓沉重。  拖累葡萄牙債券受壓   10年期愛爾蘭國債孳息率升至6.38厘,攀升27個基點,愛爾蘭/德國10年期國債的孳息率差,拉寬至破紀錄的3.87個百分點。歐洲央行被迫入市干預,為都柏林市場提供支持。市場人士稱,由於擔憂愛爾蘭經濟困境,市場上根本沒有人買進該國債券。   

愛爾蘭國債被拋售也拖累葡萄牙債券受壓,市場擔心葡萄牙政府實施經濟改革速度不夠快,也將被迫尋求國際社會出手救助。葡萄牙2年期國債孳息率升近0.25個百分點,至3.5厘,歐元區其他債券市場走勢則相對平穩。   愛爾蘭面對高達873億歐元(約8,850億港元)國債,早前為了拯救國內私營銀行,耗資250億歐元(約2,534億港元),成本幾佔其國內生產總值的1/6。


美國擁有世界上數量最多、水準最高的智庫,近十年來在全球化發展方向上迅速邁進,其中有不少經驗對中國的智庫建設具有重要的借鑒意義為瞭解美國智庫發展狀 況及其經驗,《瞭望》新聞週刊記者最近先後採訪了蘭德公司、布魯金斯學會、傳統基金會等美國頂尖智庫及研究智庫問題的有關專家。


  賓夕法尼亞大學全球智庫研究專案主任詹姆斯·麥根博士對《瞭望》新聞週刊記者表示,全球範圍內的智庫數量比十年前有了大幅增加,各類智庫在促進國際間 交流、搜集資訊、制定和分析政策方面的影響力正在不斷增強。地區性和全球性的政府間組織——如聯合國、世界銀行、亞洲開發銀行和北約等,也都逐漸認識到了 智庫在政治決策過程中所發揮的重要作用。

  與歐洲老牌工業化國家英國相比,美國的智庫起步比較晚,但在二戰以後,美國智庫的發展躍居世界首位。目前美國擁有1815家智庫,數倍于英國的智庫數 量285家。首都華盛頓特區是世界上智庫最密集的城市,總共有393家智庫。此外,麻塞諸塞州、加利福尼亞州、紐約州和弗吉尼亞州的智庫數量都超過100 家。

  麥根指出,儘管智庫以不同形式存在於各個不同政體的國家,卻均面臨一個共同挑戰,即如何保存智庫的獨立性和真實性,以便給決策者提供客觀、科學和專業 性意見。他認為這一問題在發展中國家顯得尤其突出,由於發展中國家智庫資金有限,法律不健全,因此在發展中國家,智庫對國家政策制定的影響還十分有限。

  布魯金斯學會是多年來全球排名第一的智庫,也是美國歷史最為悠久的智庫。1916年,羅伯特·布魯金斯同其他改革家們一道,創建了美國歷史上第一個私 立公共政策研究機構:政府研究學院,旨在推動高效治理,並用科學方法研究政策的制定。該學院分別於1922年和1924年成立經濟研究所和研究生院,並在 1927年將三家機構合併為一:布魯金斯學會。布魯金斯的最初資金來源於卡內基公司、洛克菲勒基金會和福特基金會,這些支持者們到現在仍然保持著與布魯金 斯的合作關係。

  布魯金斯學會中國研究中心研究主任李成向《瞭望》新聞週刊記者表示,美國智庫在發展早期就意識到在政策制定研究過程中必須要有相對的獨立性,在資金來 源上也就有相應的考慮。“布魯金斯學會每年的預算收入有65%左右是來自民間的捐款,而來自政府部門的資金只占3%~4%,這有助於學會長期保持無黨派的 獨立立場。”李成說,“布魯金斯非常注重收支平衡,使資金狀況能夠適應當前及長期研究專案的經費需求,並通過高效的基金管理運作,以確保各個研究專案的正 常進行。”

  根據布魯金斯學會發佈的年報,學會在2009年度的總資產為3.48億美元。受金融危機影響,資產比2008年度縮水了近15%,但這樣的家底在美國 眾多非營利機構中還算得上是非常殷實的。布魯金斯學會的研究經費支出結構也頗為耐人尋味。2009年度占最大比重的支出是外交政策(30%),隨後是經濟 研究(25%),全球經濟(13%),城市政策(12%)和治理研究(6%)。從中不難看出布魯金斯學會放眼全球的定位。

  蘭德公司是美國另一家全球聞名的智庫,雖然其研究經費主要來自於聯邦、州和地方政府機構,但是長期以來堅持自己只是一個非營利的民辦研究機構,獨立地 開展工作,與美國政府保持客戶合同關係。根據蘭德公司發佈的2009年度財報,公司該年度總收入為2.36億美元,其中20%來自於美國空軍、12%來自 於美國陸軍、19%來自於美國國防部和國家安全機構、17%來自於美國衛生部及相關機構、3%來自於其他聯邦政府機構、7%來自於州和地方政府機構。

  蘭德亞太政策中心董事湯瑪斯·麥克諾爾向《瞭望》新聞週刊記者解釋說,“蘭德公司努力通過擁有不同性質的客戶的形式來保持其獨立性。雖然蘭德的客戶大 部分是美國聯邦政府,但是即使就一個客戶而言,比如五角大樓,其內部也有陸、海、空、情報、國防部長辦公室等機構,有許多不同的部門。蘭德通過與不同部門 打交道,來實現一定的獨立性。同時,蘭德還有許多非政府部門和私營部門及海外的客戶等,而慈善捐贈的支援也使得我們有能力開展更多具有公益性的研究項目。 ”



  針對這一看法,王輝耀分析說:智庫的核心是政策研究,怎麼可能不跟制定政策的政府密切來往?儘管政府也會拿出少量的專案資金支援智庫,但這並不影響智 庫的獨立性。所謂獨立性是指智庫的獨立性與研究的獨立性。蘭德、布魯金斯等智庫不受美國某一行政機關直接管理,他們的研究員不是政府公務員。之所以受到政 府的重視,主要是因為他們在這個領域的權威與公信力。



  麥克諾爾強調,經過數個階段的演變與發展,蘭德公司已經不再只是專注於軍事與國家安全領域,而成為研究政治、軍事、經濟科技、社會等各方面的綜合性思 想庫。蘭德對其每個研究分部進行定期的審查,包括邀請外部專家參與的獨立審查,審查人員必須按照規定的品質標準嚴格審查研究人員的研究結果。

  布魯金斯學會中國研究中心的研究主任李成表示,決定智庫影響力的最關鍵因素是人才,要看研究人員水準如何。據介紹,布魯金斯學會現有400多位研究人 員,其中有75位資深研究員,還有大約100位客座研究員和近40位訪問學者。李成說,智庫的影響力跟資源有關係,只有經過數十年的長期積累才有人才的彙 聚;從另一方面說,人才會提高智庫的地位,使它真正有話語權,這樣智庫才能左右逢源。


  李成表示,布魯金斯學會跟政府有非常密切的關係,在某種意義上被視為跨黨派的“旋轉門”。“我們處在一個獨立的地位,沒有特別強的黨派色彩。如果民主 黨當政,我們的研究人員更多是共和黨的;共和黨當權的時候,民主黨退下來的人進入我們的隊伍,所以在一定程度上保持了獨立性和對政府批評的作用。同時由於 跟前政府官員、現政府官員或者未來政府官員之間緊密的關係,我們並不擔心骨幹人才交替帶來的影響。”



  美國傳統基金會研究員德雷克·塞瑟斯告訴《瞭望》新聞週刊記者,對於他個人而言,傳統基金會主要有兩點很吸引他:“第一,它建立在我強烈認可的一些原 則之上:小型政府、開放市場、強大的國家防禦。內部存在分歧是難免的,但當大家秉持共同的核心理念,留住專家是非常容易的;第二,傳統基金會擁有負責媒 體、政府關係、市場等分支部門,這些部門的工作人員擔當起所有我不擅長的工作,讓我可以完全將注意力集中在項目研究之中。”

  據瞭解,目前大約有來自50多個國家的1600名員工在為蘭德工作,使得整個研究團隊在工作經驗、學術訓練、政治和思想觀念、民族、性別和種族方面相 當多元化。蘭德亞太政策中心董事湯瑪斯·麥克諾爾說,“我們的項目團隊都是從公司的950名專業人員中選拔組成,他們的研究專長幾乎涵蓋了從經濟學和行為 科學到醫學和工程的所有學術和專業領域。同時蘭德善於借助外力——如果要迅速進入自己不熟悉的領域開展新課題研究,就必須充分借助各領域專家的才能。”



  塞瑟斯說,“我們與亞洲國家的關係在總體上是健康的,無論對於問題的看法一致與否。在符合我們自己原則的基礎上,傳統基金會的立足點與中國和印度政府 的利益保持一致;不符合我們原則的,我們也會保持己見。我們尊重並且受益於我們跟亞洲政府、私人部門代表、學者等的良好關係,但堅持原則對我們而言仍然是 最首要的。”

  王輝耀說,中國應該抱著開放的態度歡迎國外智庫在中國的發展,這些國外智庫既可向中國的智庫提供資助並開展合作,也可與中國智庫展開競爭,最終起到了 促進中國社會進步、幫助中國發展的作用。“當然,這種開放是有限度的,開放不意味著不設防。我認為目前中國政府對外資在中國建智庫的態度也是如此,整體態 度是開放而歡迎的,但開放中有謹慎,我認為這也是值得讚賞的態度。”

  李成也持相同觀點。他表示,近幾年來,國際頂級智庫對中國研究的最大熱點,集中在中國的發展道路、中國在國際政治經濟特別是在經濟危機下發揮的角色與 作用、中國的國內社會發展等三個方面。為了加強對華研究與合作,布魯金斯學會於2006年設立約翰桑頓中國中心,總部設在華盛頓特區,並在清華大學設立了 北京辦事處,即清華布魯金斯中心。據稱,該中心提供前沿的研究、分析、對話與出版服務,聚焦中國的崛起及其對美國、中國鄰國乃至整個世界的影響。僅在 2009年,布魯金斯在華參與舉辦了四次大型的交流活動。

  蘭德亞太政策中心董事湯瑪斯·麥克諾爾向《瞭望》新聞週刊記者介紹說,在冷戰結束以後,亞洲逐漸成為蘭德擴展海外研究的重點。上個世紀90年代中期設 立的亞太政策中心是針對美國和亞洲的關係以及亞洲面臨的問題展開研究並提出政策建議的機構。在亞太政策中心近期研究的九個重點課題中,就有三項與中國直接 相關,即“創建美中政策新框架”、“對中國最大的經濟挑戰的分析”和“關於中國如何利用市場機制減少排放物的研究”。此外,有關資訊革命對亞洲社會的影響 的研究也與中國密切相關,蘭德在一年多前還為中國天津濱海新區與天津經濟技術開發區提供了研究諮詢服務,主要探討如何通過著力于新興高技術應用來最好地促 進地區發展和經濟增長。


政院調高貧窮線 85.2萬人納救助體系 涵蓋率達全國3.7%

2010/09/16 15:16

政院調高貧窮線 85.2萬人納救助體系 涵蓋率達全國3.7%

更新日期:2010/09/16 11:19 記者陳思穎/台北報導
近 年來社會經濟情勢急劇變遷,貧富差距擴大,為彰顯政府照顧社會弱勢的決心,行政院會今(16)日上午通過「社會救助法」部分條文修正案,重新定 義並調增我國社會救助制度的貧窮線,將低收入戶的審查門檻再合理的放寬,並將中低收入戶的認定標準及權益法制化,修法後獲得照顧人口總計可達85.2萬 人,涵蓋率可達全國3.7%,新增經費預估為43.45億元。

行政院長吳敦義表示,此次內政部回 應各界建議提出「社會救助法」部分 條文修正草案,重新定義並調增我國社會救助制度的貧窮線,將低收入戶的審查門檻再合理的放寬,並將中低收入戶的認定標準及權益法制化,讓未來政府在照顧弱 勢民眾及整合福利資源時,有更明確的依循標準,同時也強化對低收入戶的就業輔導及鼓勵社會參與等措施,幫助弱勢民眾提升競爭力及脫貧,彰顯政府照顧弱勢庶 民百姓的決心。

吳揆表示,為照顧庶民生活,實現社會公平正義,即使遭逢全球金融海嘯及八八風災的衝擊,政府仍積極推動社會安 全網擴大照顧弱勢民眾,放寬低收入戶審核門檻,對於非低收入戶,98年相關部會也投入1,405億餘元,受益對象達514萬餘人次,讓我國的貧富差距與先 進國家相較維持了相對的穩定。

內政部指出,修正重點包括:調整「最低生活費」計算方式,以期擴大照顧弱勢並符合未來縣市合併改制之新局;增 訂「中低收入戶」,將最低生活費1.5倍以下未符合低收入戶資格之經濟弱勢家庭納入照顧;修正家庭應計算人口範圍、部分弱勢者工作收入之計算方式與工作能 力審查要件,有利於弱勢者審查通過;直轄市、縣(市)主管機關對低收入戶及中低收入戶應提供就業輔導及相關措施,以促進其自立脫貧等等。

內 政部指出,此次修法效益初步估計約可增加照顧低收入戶2萬1千戶(5萬2千人),較目前10萬8千戶增加約19%,另外界定「中低收入戶」納入照顧,估計 約18萬3千戶(53萬6千人),合計可增加20萬4千戶、58萬8千人納入社會救助體系獲得照顧。實施後第一年中央及地方政府將新增經費支出約新台幣43億元。內政部未來將積極向立法院朝野 各黨團說明溝通,及早完成立法程序。

內政部表示,「社會救助法」修正重點還包括:修正各地區之最低生活費計算方式:以當地區每人每月可支配 所得中位數之百分之六十定之,較現行以平均消費支出百分之六十為寬,可使更多的弱勢家庭得到照顧,又訂定年度變動未達5%以上,最低生活費不予調整,以使 弱勢家庭能較穩定受到照顧。

修正重點也包括:放寬審查資格要件,有利於弱勢者通過審查:修正家庭應計算人口範圍,將兄弟姐妹排除不列計;對 於未與單親家庭未成年子女共同生活,無扶養事實,且未行使、負擔權利義務的父或母也排除不予計算,使弱勢個案能獲得協助;對於未能提供薪資證明及財稅資料 之青少年、身心障礙者、高齡者之工作收入,以核算收入70%計算,避免高估其工作所得;以及將因照顧特定身心障礙或罹患特定病症且不能自理生活之共同生活 或受扶養親屬致不能工作,與懷胎期間經醫師診斷不宜工作者等情形排除計算,均有利於審查通過。

修正重點還有:增訂中低收入戶之規定,擴大弱 勢照顧範圍:將最低生活費1.5倍以下未符低收入戶資格之經濟弱勢家庭的保障予以法制化,並提供全民健康保險費及子女學雜費等補助。
修正重 點也包含:強化低收入戶及中低收入戶工作福利誘因,鼓勵低收入戶積極自立脫離貧窮:增訂直轄市、縣(市)主管機關對低收入戶及中低收入戶應提供就業輔導措 施及授權條款,得將因就業而增加之收入,免計入家庭總收入,最長以3年為限,以鼓勵參與勞動市場,獲得穩定工作;並對於參與脫貧措施之低收入戶因措施所增 加之收入,得免計入家庭總收入計算,最長不得超過3年,以提供促進其自立發展的誘因機制。



2009/07/04 10:36


她 說,當她在畫畫時,如果這是在法國,一定會有許多人好奇的問,或停下來跟她聊天;但在劍橋,大家視若無睹,沒有人理她,讓她感到很不習慣。尤其是在劍橋的 第一年,她最不習慣的是沒有人看她,最初她感覺是不是衣服沒穿對或哪邊不對勁,所以才沒有人看她,後來她才體會到這就是所謂的「英國人」;在法國,大家對 「人」總是很有興趣,因此他們會盯著你看,甚至於停下來跟你聊上兩句,這樣的場景在英國應該不常見到。

她 很喜歡畫畫,具非常典型的法式浪漫。有一次她要到劍橋的植物園畫花,走了四十分鐘到那邊,才想到自己忘了帶畫具;在離開劍橋的前一分鐘,才發現自己忘了帶 走一隻小熊,而少了那隻小熊,她是無法睡著的。她勇於表達自己的看法與對世界的責任,因此經常在抗議場合看到她,去年底的反布希遊行,她做了許多標語,例 如”Shame on Bush”之類的,她還問我要不要,她要幫我多做一個!她憤怒地說,在伊拉克戰爭爆發前,她參與一次靜坐,地點是在劍橋的馬路上,一個計程車司機差點撞了她!

Laurence是 我在劍橋認識最特別的學生了。念基因學的她,卻有著非常浪漫的情懷及人文思考的角度。她反麥當勞、從不上連鎖超市、反媒體的洗腦、反主流文化的荼毒。有一 次在廚房煮飯,她很驕傲的問了一個問題:「你們知道在法國有幾家大型連鎖超市嗎?」大家搖搖頭,她才很志得意滿的回答:「零!」






英國時裝協會(BFC)發表「英國時尚產業價值」(Value of the UK Fashion Industry)報告,首次對英國這個產業所帶來的經濟效益進行分析。  報告指出,時尚會影響其他產業消費,包括資訊科技(IT)業和觀光業,對經濟挹注更廣泛的貢獻,金額超過160億英磅。  

報告說:「這代表時尚產業對英國經濟的貢獻,包括直接、間接、誘發和『外溢』效果,全部加起來估計超過370億英磅。」  時尚對國內生產毛額(GDP)的貢獻是藉由分析該產業產品和各項利潤、工資所算出─包括女裝、男裝、包包和鞋子─其他還有時尚教育、行銷和時尚媒體的貢獻。  




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...