Monday, April 19, 2010

Rebooting Democracy

The evolution of Larry Lessig from copyright critic to corruption crusader continues.  Here is the latest version of his presentation.  I think his solution of calling a constitutional convention would be the greatest thing that's happened to the US in a long time.

For good measure, I looked up the two studies he mentioned.  One asserting that the return on investment for a particular piece of lobbying was 22,000% and another a quite obvious model answering the question of why "there isn't more money in politics".  This last contention appears over and over again from people who claim that if there were really $100 bills lying around Washington someone would already have picked them up.  I've always considered that logic about as compelling as the economic version, but it's nice to see someone work out in empirical detail why the actual funds disclosed are less than you would at first imagine (short version -- nobody counts the unconsummated threat to give you opponent money).  Lobbying is just another business expense -- you try to minimize costs and maximize the returns.

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