One of my hero’s – Larry Lessig – has published this video on why he supports Obama over Hilary. The video says a great deal about Obama, but also reminds me why I have so much respect for Lessig.
For those who haven’t seen it yet Larry Lessig – champion extraordinaire of creative commons and free culture – is stepping back from his research and advocacy in these fields.(side note: if you haven’t read Free Culture or seen this presentation, please do so now!)
His work to date has led him to believe that the political system is fundamentally corrupt. In his own words:
“That the real problem here was (what I will call a “corruption” of) the political process. That our government can’t understand basic facts when strong interests have an interest in its misunderstanding.”
As a result, for the next ten years, he will be refocusing his energy on trying to figure out how to solve this riddle.
I think Lessig walks on water. So am pleased to hear he’ll be focusing his energy on one of the most significant problems in American politics and American history. Why History? Because Lessig is picking up on a theme American Progressives made central to their movement back in the 1890’s-1920’s. Progressives of that time were keen to limit the influence of special interests in American politics. In some regards they succeeded but, in many respects their key reforms such as the primary system and the creation of larger government bureaucracies actually benefited the very actors they sought to limit. As Larry himself admits, the problem may not be solvable.
But then, it’s a new era, and we have new tools. I’m hoping Lessig succeeds. He certainly has the passion and brains.
Larry Lessig put this cartoon in Free Culture to illustrate how Americans are (and Canadians are contemplating) regulating these two tools differently.
I love the image because of the clarity it brings to the debate… in ths US. What I’d love though is to find an image that might reasonate with us Canadians – if you have any suggestions please pass it along!
[tags]opensource, lessig, copyright[/tags]
If you haven’t read Free Culture… do. In summary, it outlines the already raging battle being fought over who controls the infrastructure that sustains creativity. Sound unimportant? Think again.
If we are moving from an information society to a creativity society (as argued by the likes of Max Wyman in Defiant Imagination and Richard Florida in Rise of the Creative Class) then determining who is allowed to be creative, and how they are allowed to be creative, is possible the most important question confronting us. It’s answer will determine not only the rules of our economy, but the shape and nature of our culture and communities.
Moreover, because this battle will shape our capacity to think about, and respond to, every other issue, it may be the most important fight of our day.
[tags] Lessig, Free Culture, Copyright[/tags]