Money's Influence Called Villain of Our Times

By DaParma, Ron | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 26, 2008 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Money's Influence Called Villain of Our Times


DaParma, Ron, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Money and its influence -- on politicians and on corporate executives -- are the prime reasons for the nation's financial crisis and the pain and suffering of the American public, says anti- corruption crusader Lawrence Lessig.

That doesn't mean capitalism is the problem, but it does mean political leaders can't let business interests control their decision-making via campaign contributions and pressure from lobbyists, the Stanford University professor said in a talk Thursday at the University of Pittsburgh.

"We have a Congress that fewer than 10 percent of the people believe is doing a decent job. There were more people who had faith in the British Crown before the Revolution than that," said Lessig, who also is a noted expert in copyright law.

He has been making stops throughout the country pushing for a "Declaration for Independence" -- a campaign to eliminate the chances that political candidates and government leaders can be swayed by "improper influences."

Public financing for elections is the best way to do that. A close second would be radical reform of earmarks doled out by politicians for constituents, Lessig said.

"I believe in capitalism, but what we need is a little more critical thinking," he said in an interview. "It's not about what the citizens want. It's what they (politicians) have to do to continue to raise money to stay in office."

The banking crisis is a great example of that, he said. Lobbyists for financial institutions contributed millions of dollars to politicians, with the result being eased regulations.

"When you look at the financial crisis, when you look at Enron, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the crash on Wall Street, the one thing that links these all together is the extraordinary deregulation that has happened in the last eight years," he said.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Money's Influence Called Villain of Our Times
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?