A dazzlingly incisive presenter, Lawrence Lessig specializes in identifying deep systemic problems in public process (such as copyright malfunction and Congressional dysfunction) and then showing how they can be cured. Currently he is bearing down on the corruption of Congress by money, through the practice of private funding for public elections through campaign contributions. He writes: The dependency of modern campaign finance is the single most important cause of the bankruptcy of Congress. Fixing this bankruptcy is the single most important reform effort that Americans face just now. As he did with helping fix copyright problems via Creative Commons, he has a plan for reforming elections to reestablish Congressional trust and effectiveness. Lessig is director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University and author of Republic, Lost (2011) and Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (2000 and 2006)."
Lawrence Lessig is one of our most respected voices on the legal, political, and cultural implications of digital technology. Currently the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, Lessig founded Creative Commons in 2001 to reboot our antiquated copyright system. He is also the director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics and the founder of Rootstrikers, an activist network working to reduce the influence of money in politics. In 2000, as a professor at Stanford, he founded the school’s Center for Internet and Society. Lessig is the author of numerous books, including Code: And Other Laws of Cyberspace; The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World; Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy; and Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress—and a Plan to Stop It. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Association, he has received numerous honors and was named one of the world’s “Top 50 Visionaries” by Scientific American.
Lawrence Lessig, professor of law at Harvard University, points out a fact that we all know: Congress has been corrupted by money. Government distrust has led to abysmal Congressional approval ratings, and he asserts, "there was more support for the British Crown in our government at the time of the Revolution than there is support for our Congress today."
Legislature of the U.S., separated structurally from the executive and judicial (seejudiciary) branches of government. Established by the Constitution of the United States, it succeeded the unicameral congress created by the Articles of Confederation (1781). It consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Representation in the Senate is fixed at two senators per state. Until passage of the 17th Amendment (1913), senators were appointed by the state legislatures; since then they have been elected directly. In the House, representation is proportional to each state's population; total membership is restricted (since 1912) to 435 members (the total rose temporarily to 437 following the admission of Hawaii and Alaska as states in 1959). Congressional business is processed by committees: bills are debated in committees in both houses, and reconciliation of the two resulting versions takes place in a conference committee. A presidential veto can be overridden by a two-thirds majority in each house. Congress's constitutional powers include the setting and collecting of taxes, borrowing money on credit, regulating commerce, coining money, declaring war, raising and supporting armies, and making all laws necessary for the execution of its powers. All finance-related legislation must originate in the House; powers exclusive to the Senate include approval of presidential nominations, ratification of treaties, and adjudication of impeachments. See alsobicameral system.
There is, perhaps, a rather common sense solution to the issue of money corrupting congress. The Federalist Papers argue that Congress should be dependent solely on the people. Better still, individual congressmen should be dependent solely on the will of those who can vote in their election . Under such a criteria only real voters participating in the election could contribute to campaigns for the election consistent with existing contribution law! Non-voters have plenty of power without directly funding elections. They can lobby as much as they will but they should not be given power beyond that.
I picked up this book after I saw him on The Daily Show and it is fantastic. I put the link to the talk on my Facebook page and hope that we can begin to use the medium of social media to begin a movement to recover the republic we have allowed to disappear. Everyone should see this talk.
Lawrence puts together some interesting points, but falls into the basic 'frame-of-reference' trap we are all part of as an invading 'exogenous' (Latin = 'other-generated') illegal colonial society. My family and European America are here around 350 years yet very very few have even considered, "What would Turtle Island (North America) have looked like if we had immigrated here with civil respect and deference to the existing 'indigenous' (L = 'self-generating') governments, customs and peoples? Lawrence goes on to glorify our genocidal, murderous, racist, slave-owning, sexist, money grubbing founding fathers and constitution. First Nations here and our indigenous ancestors worldwide cultivated a form of Economic 'Democracy' (Greek = 'Power of the people') as well as a subsidiary Political Democracy based in a system of checks and balances. https://sites.google.com/site/indige...circle-of-life This system is summarized in the 'Haudenosaunee 'Great Law of Peace' but as well found around the world with two main components of local empowerment of individuals, families and community in 'economies of scale' 1. Housing based in 'multihome' ('Longhouse' = 'apartment-like'& 'Pueblo' = 'Townhouse-like') intergenerational multi-disciplined interaction covering both male and female work. 2. Inclusive welcoming economy based in specialized universal progressive ownership Production Society Time-based accounting for all contributions to the multihome, village, region, nation, confederacy, continent and hemisphere. Indigenous systematic 'fractal' (at all levels) organization of 'the power of the people', allowing for everyone to be part of functional and responsive 'corporate' or 'collective' economy and living. The String shell value system of our indigenous ancestors from around the world integrated 'capital' (L 'cap' = 'head'), 'currency' Greek 'money' from 'mnemosis' = 'memory'), 'condolence' ('social security'), collegial education (Production Society apprenticeship), Diplomatic Conveyance (Shared resource harvesting as part of time-management), Communications (Graphics & mathematics-based) https://sites.google.com/site/indige...omic-democracy firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch The Long Now Foundation
Unlimited access to all programs
Watch Lawrence Lessig: How Money Corrupts Congress