Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress--and a Plan to Stop It (Anglais) Relié – 5 octobre 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
Présentation de l'éditeur
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.
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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.
This is a book about one of the biggest challenges we face, and the root cause of many of our problem--the dependence of politicians on money, which skews our political debates and outcomes towards big government and big corporation, and against the people themselves.
Reading the book, you understand more about the enormity of the problem, how it hurts our country and our loved ones, and why it is so difficult to solve--though why we must try.
If you've seen one of Lessig's presentations, available online, you probably already realize that Lessig can address hard issues in an informal, easy-to-understand way, making this an easy read, though full of ideas.
In the same way that Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, his first book, gave me an understanding of how law and government regulation and control works within our Internet world of electronic commerce, 'Republic Lost' tells us how the framers of the Constitution attempted to protect us from the influences of bribery and of corrupt practices from the very beginning and goes to great length to show us how our legal system has continued to work to accomplish this, at least up until recently. Lessig's perspective exposed me to the realities of our subsidized market economy and he colored his discussions with a wonderful assortment of facts to show the 'unprecedented dependence' on absurd campaign funding of our elected officials that exists today.
His quote of the chairman of Archer Daniels Midland, "the only place you will see a free market is in the speeches of politicians. People who are not in the Midwest do not understand that this is a socialist country," captured my full attention and set the stage for Lessig's extended market education, using free markets, market efficiency, effective education and safe financial markets as examples, more information than I ever wanted to know. He has also coupled this with the realities of the market sizes, the extensive lobbying activities that are now common and unlimited campaign contributions, thanks to 'Citizens United'.
Building upon this foundation, Lessig describes our democracy as something that's been deflated by special interests, an economy of influence that draws our democracy away from the will of the people in favor of itself. We have institutionalized a system of funding dependence and corruption composed of bad governance and lost trust, which feeds upon itself and is both self-sustaining and self-protecting. When you add to this the results of a poll commissioned for this book, where three out of four Americans believe that "campaign contributions buy results in Congress", we have sufficient reason to at least look further for solutions to reform the heart of this corruption, the perceived 'influence' of money.
In the last section of this book, Professor Lessig has fearlessly taken on the task of looking for ways to solve this 'unsolvable problem' that he has so eloquently laid out. Unfortunately, our politicians by themselves are incapable of ridding the systems of the 'influence peddlers' that support them. But the system can be changed and corrected by the people who are fed up with bloated government, tax inequities, poor healthcare, the high costs of living, our failing financial systems and a changing climate. Lessig explains to us how the mechanisms of constitutional law are already in place to allow for the wrongs in the system to be addressed, which makes this very much worth the read for anyone who lives in and loves this country. Lessig makes a great case by offering us shocking facts of how the system is broken for everyone and is already far beyond repair. He has presented us a sobering picture that provides a focus for our anger, unfortunately not a very optimistic picture but it is a real eye opener for readers! The solutions will need to be apolitical but as you will learn, it is not impossible to do... but it will be difficult. I for one am ready for change...
Bob Magnant is a novelist who writes about technology, globalization issues, Internet security and US policy in the Middle East. He is the author of "The Last Transition...", a fact-based novel about Iran and "Domestic Satellite: an FCC Giant Step", a study of competitive telecommunications policy.
The author shows that large campaign contributions from special interest groups encourage Congressional action (or inaction) that is contrary to the will and interests of the general public. The corrupting influence of this money is one of America's core problems because it blocks effective action on the other problems such as the lack of free and efficient markets, poor schools, high health care costs, and the financial crisis of 2008. There are less obvious effects as well: Congress people spend too much time fund raising and not enough time focusing on priorities, which leads to public mistrust and a lack of participation in our democracy.
The author is a self-described former Reaganite who is now a liberal/libertarian. Several chapters are devoted to showing how this corruption defeats the agendas of both conservatives and liberals: Conservative Congress people vote against free markets when it benefits their contributors. Liberal Congress people vote against reasonable regulation when it benefits their contributors. The book, however, is not a diatribe against Congress people. The author often quotes them to support his arguments. He believes that most go in with good intentions, but get quickly caught up in the system and focused on the interests of their large contributors.
The book ends with four strategies to end the corruption.
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