Lawrence Lessig: “Republic, Lost”

Today, I got to hear Lawrence Lessig talk about his political worries, also laid out in his book, Republic, Lost.

He was very compelling. His main point is that government is being influenced by money, and that’s not just bad because it leads to bad legislation. It’s even worse because it leads to public apathy. People don’t bother voting or participating because they know any politician will just support corporate interests anyway.

The obvious answer is some sort of public financing of elections. (Lawrence Lessig lays out quite a good form of voluntary public financing in the book.) The obvious problem is that the current politicians won’t support something that costs them money and power. He has 3 radical solutions, one of which is a constitutional convention to add an amendment.

I was quite moved; this is the defining problem of our time. That’s why there hasn’t been a proper governmental response to the banks’ failures, why the copyright laws are gradually getting more insane, why tax laws have giant loopholes for corporations and the elite.

The question is, how will I help? I’ll have to see.

As a first step, I should probably go help occupy San Francisco.