YBCA and The Long Now Foundation present
How Money Corrupts Congress – and a Plan to Stop It
An Evening With Lawrence Lessig
Tue, Jan 17, 7:30 pm • Novellus Theater at YBCA
A dazzlingly incisive presenter, Lawrence Lessig specializes in diagnosing deep systemic problems in public process, and then demonstrating how they can be cured. His current focus is on the corruption in Congress caused by the private funding of elections through campaign contributions. He writes: "The dependency of modern campaign finance is the single most important cause of the bankruptcy of Congress. Fixing this bankruptcy is the single most important reform effort that Americans face just now.” Just as with his previous efforts to help reform problems in the field of copyright law, Lessig has a plan for reforming elections and improving legislative effectiveness in order to re-establish trust in Congress – whose approval rating currently hovers at an abysmally (and historically) low 12%.
Lawrence Lessig is the Director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Prior to returning to Harvard, Lessig was a Professor of Law at Stanford Law School (where he was founder of Stanford's Center for Internet and Society), Harvard Law School (1997-2000), and the University of Chicago Law School. Lessig clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court.
For much of his academic career, Lessig has focused on law and technology, especially as it affects copyright. He is the author of five books on the subject — Remix (2008), Code v2 (2007), Free Culture (2004), The Future of Ideas (2001) and Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (1999) — and has served as lead counsel in a number of important cases marking the boundaries of copyright law in a digital age, including Eldred v. Ashcroft, a challenge to the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, and Golan v. Holder.
His current academic work addresses the question of "institutional corruption" — roughly, influences within an economy of influence that weaken the effectiveness of an institution, or weaken public trust. His current work at the EJ Safra Lab oversees a five-year research project addressing institutional corruption in a number of institutional contexts.
Lessig has won numerous awards, including the Free Software Foundation's Freedom Award, and was named one of Scientific American's Top 50 Visionaries. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.
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National Endowment for the Arts
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