Republic, Lost: Version 2.0

Republic, Lost: Version 2.0

by Lawrence Lessig

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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 theissues 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: 9781455537433
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 10/20/2015
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 1,086,895
File size: 3 MB

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, 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.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Introduction 1

Part I The Flaw 7

1 Tweedism 9

The Green Primary 12

2 Corrupt Because Unequal 18

Because Unequal 20

3 Consequences: Vetocracy 29

4 The Fix 39

Vouchers 43

Matching Funds 47

Would More Funders Make the Problems Worse? 48

But What Would All This Cost? 49

What These Changes Would Do for "Lobbying" 50

5 Distractions 52

6 What About "Free Speech"? 58

Part II Deeper 71

7 Why So Damn Much Money 73

Demand for Campaign Cash 74

Supply of Campaign Cash: Substance 78

Supply of Campaign Cash: New Norms 82

Supply of Campaign Cash: New Suppliers 84

Lobbyists 85

Economies, Gift and Otherwise 91

8 What So Damn Much Money Does 109

The Deviations That Money Inspires 111

0 It Matters Not at All 116

1 Extortion 121

2 Distraction 124

3 Distortion 129

4 Trust 156

Okay, But Is Money the Real Root? 163

9 How So Damn Much Money Defeats the Left 166

10 How So Damn Much Money Defeats the Right 192

1 Making Government Small 200

2 Simple Taxes 203

3 Keeping Markets Efficient 211

11 How So [Damn Little] Money Makes Things Worse 222

The Ways We Pay Congress 224

The Benefits of Working for Members 229

12 Two Conceptions of "Corruption" 235

"Corruption" 236

"Dependence Corruption" Is "Corruption" 245

What Follows 250

Part III Unconventional Thoughts 263

13 A Proposing Convention 265

The Movement on the Left 267

The Movement on the Right 270

"A Convention" 273

The Risk in the "Runaway" 278

Safety Valve 1: Limits on the Convention 278

Safety Valve 2: The Courts 283

Safety Valve 3: The Safety Valve Itself 284

Leave the Lawyers, Return to Real Politics 285

Risks 290

One Way Forward 294

Fair Deals 295

14 Referendum Politicians 300

The Referendum President 301

Referendum Representatives 303

Conclusion 307

Afterword 313

Notes 315

Image Credits 362

Index 363

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