Politics and corruption

And money. Lawrence Lessig gives this talk about how money breeds mistrust. And one of the first examples he gives is the spectacularly increase in the number of parents that refuse to vaccinate their children. And why? Essentially because from their point of view, the doctors prescribe the drugs subject to the money they receive from pharmaceutical companies. Even if the doctor is completely unbiased, if he receives that money, the patients’ trust in the doctor is undermined. And without that trust, the number of children without vaccination will keep rising. Others examples are given.

And then the same argument is applied to politics. In order to find out if money was influencing policy makers’ decisions, he tells the story of a bill proposing copyright extension: +20 years. The question in this case was quite simple: can this extension of copyright increase the public good? The government said the answer was ‘yes’, they (Lessig et al.) said the answer was ‘no’. And in that answer, they’re were joined, Lessig tells, by a right-wing conservative economist, who said he’d only joined them if in their report they included the words no brainer. So the government got the answer wrong. Why? Either because there really are no brains in the government, or the brains in there where influenced by money. Considering the dimension of the copyright industry, on which one would you bet?


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