First, Larry Lessig gives some of the best sermons in academia. Or anywhere. He is so freaking good. That Larry’s a master presentationist is secondary to his excellence in the art of homiletics, in the sense that Ray Charles’ piano mastery was secondary to his transcendent skills as a singer, a composer, a performer.
Instituional corruption is the topic of today’s Lessig talk, at Harvard’s Kennedy School. Taking notes live.
Early point. The country’s founders value independence as, among other things, the absence of depencence. Or dependence on the wrong influences. Some great quotes, which I just missed.
Now he’s unpacking influence. Giving examples.
Lobbying now a $9 billion industry. One lobbyist earned more than $100 million in that industry (missed the name).
Hall & Deardorff (in American Political Science Review): Lobbying as subsidy.
Mazolli: lobbyists just get “access,” which is not influence. Easy cases allow us to charitably let that slide.
Example after example. Nutrition. Global Warming. Copyright. Health Care. Taking money is standard now. John Stennis, long dead and hardly a paragon of probity, quoted as opposing it. Lead in gasoline.
Side thought: to what degree are Harvard (or any major university) and its schools and centers, industries? Or influential within industries? Or influential within government? How many Harvard veterans now work in the Obama administration? (The same might have been asked about Yale veterans for some earlier administrations. Or for Berkeley in the California state government.) This isn’t taking money, or taking people; but rather an aspect of echo-chamberism. Perhaps. Not sure. I’m expecting Larry to visit this later. Hope he will, anyway.
Larry: The real decline of journalsim began happening long before the Internet came along. It began in the ’70s and ’80s when papers and broadcasters sold out to giants that could give a damn about the institutional missions, of community, and the rest of it. Or he’s citing sources and claims on that.
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