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Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress--and a Plan to Stop It Hardcover – October 5, 2011
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REPUBLIC, LOST is a powerful reminder that this problem goes deeper than poor legislative tactics or bad character. As progressives contemplate how best to pick up the pieces after recent setbacks, a robust agenda to change how business gets done in the capital needs to be part of the picture. This time, we'd better mean it.―Matthew Yglesias, The American Prospect
"Lessig is one of those rare legal scholars with both a clear narrative voice and a fine eye for historical irony."
―The Washington Post
"A bright and spark-filed polemic... combining legal sophistication with a storyteller's knack."
―Wall Street Journal, on Free Culture
"A powerfully argued and important analysis... it is also surprisingly entertaining."
―The New York Times Book Review, on Free Culture
"Once dubbed a 'philosopher king of Internet law,' he writes with a unique mix of legal expertise, historic facts and cultural curiosity, citing everything from turn-of-the-century Congressional testimony to Wikipedia to contemporary best-sellers like Chris Anderson's The Long Tail. The result is a wealth of interesting examples and theories on how and why digital technology and copyright law can promote professional and amateur art."
―M.J. Stephey, Time Magazine
"More than anything, Lessig understands and often wrestles with a rather understated theory: common sense."
―Derek Bores, PopMatters
"As an initial matter, Lessigian thought is deeply critical in nature... Perhaps it is the luxury of academia, or his nature generally, but Lessig is not afraid to say (loudly) at times: This doesn't work! We need to change. He says it often, and people are listening."
―Russ Taylor, Federal Communications Law Journal
"No one is more skilled at making arcane legal and technological questions terrifyingly relevant to everyday life than Lessig."
―Sonia Katyal, Texas Law Review
Without a doubt, the Lessig plan . . . would be a vast improvement over the current system."―Washington Monthly
"Mr. Lessig's analysis of the distorting effects of money is . . . dead on."
―New York Times
About the Author
Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, and director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. Prior to rejoining the Harvard faculty, Lessig was a professor at Stanford Law School, where he founded the school's Center for Internet and Society, and at the University of Chicago. He clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court.
Lessig serves on the Board of Creative Commons, MapLight, Brave New Film Foundation, The American Academy, Berlin, AXA Research Fund and iCommons.org, and on the advisory board of the Sunlight Foundation. He is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Association, and has received numerous awards, including the Free Software Foundation's Freedom Award, Fastcase 50 Award and being named one of Scientific American's Top 50 Visionaries.
Lessig holds a BA in economics and a BS in management from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in philosophy from Cambridge, and a JD from Yale.
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Top Customer Reviews
Can it be cured? Lessig offers several possible prescriptions, the most serious of which is calling for a Constitutional Convention, and at least while I'm reading the book, I can believe that maybe there's some hope for our republic. There are many good ideas here, and the arguments are rich and comprehensive.
Read this book if you want to understand what's really wrong with government, why nothing gets done, why the posturing and pandering grows and grows, and why life is getting steadily worse for the 99% of the population who aren't rich. And--especially--read it if you want to know what you can do to make things better.
By; Lawrence Lessig
This book was originally published in 2011. This revised 2015 edition added the “Citizen’s United” issue which has dramatically increased the funds pouring into political campaigns which has distorted the process so dramatically that the idea of a government of, by and for the people no longer exists. The money from the few means that Congress ignores the will of the people and provides
benefits for the few. This money process goes both ways, sometimes from the lobbyists to Congress and other times a demand from Congress. Both should be illegal, in my thinking and punishable by fines and jail time. I added that last sentence. It of course is off the table.
On page 102 he states the following, “The lobbying industry has exploded over the past 25 years. In 1971… there were just 175 firms with registered lobbyists. Eleven years later, there were almost 2,500. In 2009, there were 13,700 registered lobbyists. They spent more than $3.5 billion-twice the amount spent in 2002.
On page 107 he points out how Congress and their staff have come to look at political service like being on a sport farm team, being willing to work for less money while aiming for the payoff on K Street after leaving office. They can expect to receive exorbitant incomes for the influence they can have on current members and staff. Between 1998 and 2004, more than 50 percent of Senators and 42 percent of House members made that career transition. As of June 2011, 195 former members of Congress were registered lobbyists.
Chapter 9, I found of particular interest. It concerns the election of Barack Obama to the presidency. He came in with his party in the majority of the House and Senate. People were ecstatic about the changes he promised i.e., health care for all, global warming, attack Wall Street and take on corruption. While it is true the Republicans were opposed to nearly everything he proposed, it is equally true that for the first two years he did not need their support. The author was a colleague of Obama at the University of Chicago and supported him in his political journey. Obama said all the right things. He convinced me (Jack Walters) to vote for him. After his election I actually wrote to him a number of times with my thoughts on how he could accomplish his goals. I soon realized that my effort was in vain. Rather than attack the system, he bought into it by striking bargains with the most powerful lobbyists as a way to get a bill through Congress. The author said he could not believe it. As he sees it even with majorities he still had to curry favor with the lobbyists to have any chance to achieve the goals he had promised which confirms that our government is broken with little chance for recovery. On health care the ‘public option” had been his promise. In actual fact it was never considered. He promised to curtail the influence of the drug companies. Instead right off the bat he struck a deal with them continuing to forbid Medicare from using its size to negotiate drug cost which means Americans continue to pay the highest cost of most other nations. For those of you who continue to be supporters of Obama, you will be pleased to note that the author, as he concludes this chapter gives Obama high praise for accomplishments.
After lengthy writing about the money problem which I will not discuss, as you should know as well as I, his final Chapters address Constitutional Conventions as the only real hope our country can have to resolve and return to being the government of the people. He reviews the history from the beginning pointing out that it could be done without jeopardizing the basic Constitution we now have. He believes it will never start in Congress, that only three quarters of the States (38) need to request and the Congress must authorize. It can be limited in scope. I will not try to describe the process, I only hope to put this thought in your mind and perhaps mention to others. In my opinion, it is almost too late but I do like to have a sliver of hope for continuing this great country.
Jack B. Walters
July 12, 2016
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Please read this book and work locally for change holding officials accountable
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