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Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress--and a Plan to Stop It
     

Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress--and a Plan to Stop It

4.2 25
by Lawrence Lessig
 

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ISBN-10: 0446576441

ISBN-13: 2900446576443

Pub. Date: 10/02/2012

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

In an era when special interests funnel huge amounts of money into our government-driven by shifts in campaign-finance rules and brought to new levels by the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission-trust in our government has reached an all-time low. More than ever before, Americans believe that money buys results in Congress, and

Overview

In an era when special interests funnel huge amounts of money into our government-driven by shifts in campaign-finance rules and brought to new levels by the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission-trust in our government has reached an all-time low. More than ever before, Americans believe that money buys results in Congress, and that business interests wield control over our legislature.

With heartfelt urgency and a keen desire for righting wrongs, Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig takes a clear-eyed look at how we arrived at this crisis: how fundamentally good people, with good intentions, have allowed our democracy to be co-opted by outside interests, and how this exploitation has become entrenched in the system. Rejecting simple labels and reductive logic-and instead using examples that resonate as powerfully on the Right as on the Left-Lessig seeks out the root causes of our situation. He plumbs the issues of campaign financing and corporate lobbying, revealing the human faces and follies that have allowed corruption to take such a foothold in our system. He puts the issues in terms that nonwonks can understand, using real-world analogies and real human stories. And ultimately he calls for widespread mobilization and a new Constitutional Convention, presenting achievable solutions for regaining control of our corrupted-but redeemable-representational system. In this way, Lessig plots a roadmap for returning our republic to its intended greatness.

While America may be divided, Lessig vividly champions the idea that we can succeed if we accept that corruption is our common enemy and that we must find a way to fight against it. In REPUBLIC, LOST, he not only makes this need palpable and clear-he gives us the practical and intellectual tools to do something about it.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2900446576443
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
10/02/2012
Edition description:
NE
Pages:
416

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Introduction 1

Part I The Nature of This Disease 11

1 Good Souls, Corrupted 13

2 Good Questions, Raised 21

3 1 + 1 = 37

Part II Tells 41

4 Why Don't We Have Free Markets? 43

5 Why Don't We Have Efficient Markets? 53

6 Why Don't We Have Successful Schools? 61

7 Why Isn't Our Financial System Safe? 67

Where Were the Regulators? 84

8 What the "Tells" Tell Us 87

Part III Beyond Suspicion: Congress's Corruption 89

9 Why So Damn Much Money 91

Demand for Campaign Cash 92

Supply of Campaign Cash: Substance 96

Supply of Campaign Cash: New Norms 99

Supply of Campaign Cash: New Suppliers 100

Economies, Gift and Otherwise 107

10 What So Damn Much Money Does 125

A Baseline of Independence 127

Deviations from a Baseline 131

O It Matters Not at All 134

1 Distraction 138

2 Distortion 142

3 Trust 166

11 How So Damn Much Money Defeats the Left 172

12 How So Damn Much Money Defeats the Right 193

1 Making Government Small 196

2 Simple Taxes 199

3 Keeping Markets Efficient 207

13 How So Little Money Makes Things Worse 214

The Ways We Pay Congress 216

The Benefits of Working for Members 221

14 Two Conceptions of "Corruptions" 226

Part IV Solutions 249

15 Reforms That Won't Reform 251

The Incompleteness of Transparency 251

The (Practical) Ineffectiveness of Anonymity 260

16 Reforms That Would Reform 264

The Grant and Franklin Project 265

17 Strategy 1: The Conventional Game 273

18 Strategy 2: An Unconventional (Primary) Game 276

19 Strategy 3: An Unconventional Presidential Game 280

20 Strategy 4: The Convention Game 290

21 Choosing Strategies 305

Conclusion: Rich People 309

Afterword to the Paperback Edition 319

Acknowledgments 329

Appendix: What You Can Do, Now 333

Notes 337

Index 381

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Republic, Lost 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Walter_A More than 1 year ago
This is a must-read for anyone, conservative or liberal, concerned about the problems facing America. The author starts by showing that many of the issues we face today such as lack of free and efficient markets, lack of successful schools, and the financial crisis of 2008 can be traced to campaign contributions from special interest groups. The corrupting influence of this money is the core problem because it blocks effective action on these other problems. There are more subtle effects as well: Besides Congressional action (or inaction) going against the will and interests of the general public, Congress people spend too much time fund raising and not enough time studying the issues and focusing on priorities. All that leads to public mistrust, which leads to a lack of participation in our democracy. Although the author is a self-described former Reagan-ite who is now a liberal/libertarian, several chapters are devoted to showing that large Congressional contributions defeat the agendas of both conservatives and liberals. For example, conservative Congress people vote against free markets when it benefits their contributors. Liberal Congress people vote against needed reform when it benefits their contributors. The book is not a diatribe against Congress people. The author believes that most go in with good intentions, but get quickly caught up in the system and are soon focused on the interests of their large contributors. The book ends with four strategies to end the corruption.
Reviews-ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Anne B. for Readers Favorite "Listening to Republic: How Money Corrupts Congress-and a Plan to Stop It" by Lawrence Lessig reminded me of the importance of staying informed, staying pro-active, and getting involved. This is our nation and yet we as citizens have become lazy, contrite and apathetic. When a person runs for congress they tout their best intentions. They will cut the budget, they will make a difference, and they will be different from the other members of congress or candidates. Once elected they are seduced by money, power and prestige. What congress and all elected officials have forgotten is that they are responsible to us the citizens of this wonderful country. The citizens are not here to serve and fund the congress. It is time every citizen stands up and lets their voice be heard. Our government is filled with dishonesty, greed, and immorality. Do we elect and pay them so that they can sell their votes to the highest bidder? Is it too late? No Lessig offers several options we should consider. He offers suggestions that each of us, no matter who we are, can do to make changes. We do not have to be satisfied. We do not have to be disheartened. We can take back our country. Lessig explains in laymen terms what is happening in our government. I commend the author for educating us. This book is well-organized and well-written. Lessig does not write this to discourage or to negate but to wake us up. This book is not a difficult read. This book should be required reading in both high school and college classes.
MaxwellB More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this book. If you know something is wrong with big business or elections or government or politicians or justice dept., but can't figure out the how & why, this book is very good at explaining how it all fits together. The chapter on the Supreme Court was eye-opening. And one of my favorite quotes is Congress is just the Farm team for K Street. There's more change needed than we even dreamed.
PopsTX More than 1 year ago
If you want a fast, in-your-face understanding, macro view of just how Un-level the playing field is, begin reading this book now. This man is giving us a lifetime of study and analysis.
Oldbutnotstupid More than 1 year ago
This is a very well-researched and written book. I have learned much about the way our Congress works and the history of its decline into a rubber stamp for special interests. Everyone should read this...only an informed electorate can change this and return the Congress to what it should be, a representative body.
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Lessig is right, "Throwing the bums out" is not a solution. New bums take their place. Structural change is the answer. He neglects mentioning the age of the problem, which dates from the beginning. 70 years later, the confederate constitution addressed many of the failings Lessig wants addressed. (Minus legalizing slavery, of course) He also neglects to mention Public Choice Theory, which explains the problems.
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Fact based and very good read.
Rosevilleguy More than 1 year ago
As a school board member with 20 years of experience, I was especially interested in knowing what Lessing had to say about public education. After reading the chapter on the status of public education, I decided two things: 1) He didnt have the slightest idea what he was talking about and 2) If he didnt know what he was talking about regarding public education, then it probably was not worth finishing the book. I wouldnt recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lots of good information.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Compelling arguments, well written and easy to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very well researched and well written. One of the best books to address our political system in recent memory.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
read