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The Corruption of Politics

Lawrence Lessig has changed his focus from copyrights to the corruption of politics. He argues that government gets it wrong because politics is governed by money. Lessig explains and here is the YouTube link (tip to Nathaniel)

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Lessing's interviewer seems pretty skeptical about Lessing's ability to do much about corruption. Lessing doesn't say much to convince him (or me) otherwise. While I agree with Lessing about everything he says – including the importance of the problem and even his optimistic view of most politicians (that they enter politics with corrupt intentions), his vague hope that "the internet" might solve the problem is not very reassuring.

So what if we have total transparency concerning the "ownership" of politicians by special interests? The electorate won't pay such information much attention on the internet. Most people find what they already believe on the internet and listen to only that. And the justifiable and growing distrust of corporate media (CM) has not been replaced by greater trust of news sources on the internet - and the majority of that information is just recycled CM propaganda anyway.


that should have read: ...that they don't enter politics with corrupt intentions...

I believe that Lessing is right in that corruption is about the biggest problem facing the US (and the world). Unfortunately, it is not going to go away soon until we elect people who are honest and really wants the best for the country. Can this happen? Well, before this summer I would've said no. It is only a dream. But this summer, after 2 1/2 years away, I went back to Medellín Colombia where I am from. To my surprise the city has changed tremendously in those 2 1/2 years. Everything from lower crime rates to tons of investments all over the city has changed Medellín in a very positive way. This is all thanks to the iconclast mayor, Sergio Fajardo and his team. He is a Mathematician who entered politics to do exactly what he has done. In an interview he said that he realized that you have to have an honest person at the top who surrounds himself with ethical people. This can only bring about good things.

About half of the budget is marked to help those living in poverty. Under his 4 year term (which ends this Sunday) he builded libraries (by some of the best architects in Colombia) in the poorest neighborhoods because he believes education is the key. Anyway, I can go on and on but my point is that it was a remarkable change in just 4 years. This is what happens when you don't let money dictate government policy. It can be done. You can read all about it in this article in the NY Times if you are interested.

I have seen several comments that refer to the interviewer and his "combative" style.

It should be noted that "Deadline" is a Danish late night current events show, focusing on a more intellectual approach to different topics and critical journalism. Sort of like a diet version of '60 minutes'.

Besides, compared to American networks, most Danish anchors do not have a very high personal profile, nor do they usually provide personal opinions on their subject matter - and certainly not on that particular show.

So, I think people's comments on his "combative" style may actually be telling us more about the infotainment trend in American news :)

Although its not a theme for this blog its relevant and a Lessig clip makes it worth bringing up: copyright. Lessig's creative commons is a move in the right direction but I don't think it goes far enough. Too often copyright stifles discussion and creativity now that the Internet exists. With copyright enforced aggressively there would be no or at least not in the form we love.

Nelgrom's Mayor Fajardo is a mathematician, Mr. Kasparov, running for president of Russia, is chess master. Dr. Mike Newcomb (AZ candidate for governor, Air America talk-radio megaphone) always used to say of Bush that he was "playing checkers while his [adversaries, "evil-doers"] were playing chess". A more intellectual approach to ruling, a classier ruling class may be just what we need.

We now know that Bush and Co. were not playing checkers. They were playing tic-tac-toe.


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