Larry Lessig on Corruption - In Government and Elsewhere

Update: Hmmmm....I just noticed that the video won't play properly. This has something to do with the fact that Scoop doesn't like parts of the video embed code. If anyone knows how to make it play, please leave a comment. In the meantime, here's a direct link to the Google Video.

This is not my usual fare, but I watched this lecture by Professor Lawrence Lessig this morning and thought that it was important enough - and sufficiently connected to politics - to be worthy of some attention.

If you don't know him, Lawrence Lessig is a Stanford professor most famous for his work on copyright, and he has decided for the next 10 years to focus his efforts on battling corruption. This is his first lecture on the subject. He's talking about corruption in government (money in politics), but also more generally about corruption in the sense that money incentivizes certain practices that it shouldn't, creating failures in supposedly free and peer-reviewed markets.

In light of what has been uncovered in the student loan industry, the relationships between our government officials and companies/contractors in Iraq, and the failures of our government to take action on global warming despite an overwhelming scientific consensus on the subject, this issue of corruption seems particularly relevant to any discussion of politics. Lessig is making important points about the underlying reasons as to why our government is failing on these and other issues that are of high concern to voters.

Towards the end he gets at solutions, giving props to new organizations that use technology and peer production to increase transparency in the system, like MAPLight, and the Sunlight Foundation, but ultimately sees traditional reform and new technology as only part of the solution. Most specifically he's calling for us to figure out how to change the cultural norms that enable corruption. It's a long lecture, but the 65 minutes is well worth your time.

Tags: corruption, money in politics (all tags)



The Future of Ideas

Lawrence Lessig is amazing.  He accurately predicted six years ago some of the problems we are debating today, particularly Intellectual Property abuses and Net Neutrality.  Every member of congress should be required to read his book, The Future of Ideas, before voting on these issues.  The book is just as relevant today as it was when written, perhaps even more relevant.

After reading his book, I am seeing his predictions unfold as our congress passes laws inhibiting innovation and the free-flow of ideas.  If things don't change, the USA will soon become a second rate bit-player on the world stage.  While we stifle innovation in order to help the powerful media conglomerates, other nations are moving forward encouraging those who have new ways of looking at things.

Pay attention to Lessig!

by wiggen 2007-10-14 10:06AM | 0 recs
Wonderful to see

Its great to see Lessig getting into this issue.  He's a very, very smart and determined fellow and I suspect he'll bring some fresh and helpful perspective that builds on his ideas and experience in the IP/media/Internet space (as a side note, he's argued a copyright case before our beloved Supreme Court).  Thanks, Mike, for bringing this to our attention, and for the link.

by mitchipd 2007-10-14 07:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Larry Lessig on Corruption - In Government and

You gotta' post it twice, they say, to make the embedded videos work properly.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-10-14 07:59PM | 0 recs


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