Striking at the Roots

My last post considered a proposal by Dan Kervick, a blogger at New Economic Perspectives, to more closely integrate fiscal and monetary policy, and to transition the latter from the control of a Central Bank that’s mainly responsive to the needs of large private banks and the finance sector, to the control of Congress, which is subject to control by “the people” through the process of democracy.

I ended that post by pointing out that, while I agree with Dan, I’m also pretty disgusted by the current state of our democracy and the corruption of our political system.  In closing, I mentioned Professor Larry Lessig and his new book, “Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress–and a Plan to Stop It,” which focuses specifically on this issue.

While I plan to dig deeper into this issue in future posts, I wanted to provide readers unfamiliar with Lessig and his work some additional links to explore.  For those with only a few minutes, you might start by watching this short video.

For those with more time, I highly recommend some of Lessig’s longer presentations on this subject at blip.tv or YouTube.  I’ve admired Professor Lessig’s thinking, integrity and courage since the days when he was focused mainly on intellectual property and Internet policies, and have always found his talks to be powerful in substance, unique in style and, while often sobering, also hopeful and inspiring.

You can also find summaries and links to Lessig’s assorted posts on Huffington Post here.  The list includes at least two posts discussing his proposal for a Constitutional Convention (here and here).  And here are links to CallaConvention.org and RootStrikers.org, two organizations that Lessig is deeply involved with.

In closing, I’ll remind readers that the name of this blog includes the word “systems.”  As I see it, successful systemic reform needs to be envisioned and executed from a systems-level perspective.  In most cases, making one or even a few “symptom fixes” generally won’t get the job done, since the negative momentum and influence of other systemic elements will work against and perhaps totally negate the impact of such isolated fixes.

That being said, I think Lessig makes a strong argument that addressing the corruption of our political system is an act of “rootstriking” in that this corruption feeds a multitude of problems and makes it extremely difficult if not impossible to effectively address them.  In the following presentation at the Free to Connect conference held in Washington DC about a week ago, he makes his “rootstriking” argument in relation to a policy arena that’s particular dear to my (and his) heart–telecom, media and Internet policy.

Though I’d highly recommend the entire 26 minute presentation–which discusses copyright, spectrum policy and municipal broadband networks, among other things–if your time is short, you can jump to the 20 minute mark, where Lessig drives home the essence of his “rootstriking” argument.

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