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Republic, Lost

How Money Corrupts Congress - and a Plan to Stop It
Narrated by: Lawrence Lessig
Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
Categories: History, 21st Century
4.5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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Summary

In an era of ballooning corporate campaign expenditures, unleashed by the Supreme Court in Citizens United, trust in our government is at an all time low. More than ever before, Americans believe that money buys results in Congress - and that our Republic has been lost.

Using examples that resonate as powerfully on the Right as on the Left, Republic, Lost not only makes clear how the economy of influence defeats the will of the people, but offers cogent strategies to correct our course - from a constitutional convention to a Regent Presidency.

A onetime friend of Barack Obama, Lessig, a professor of law at Harvard, is as critical of the president and the Democratic Party as he is of Republicans. Both have allowed the core institution of our democracy to become little more than a shill for the most powerful moneyed interests in our Republic.

America may be divided, argues Lessig, but we must recognize that corruption is our common enemy, and we must find a way to fight against it.

©2011 Lawrence Lessig (P)2011 Hachette Audio

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Profile Image for kevmoo
  • kevmoo
  • 18-12-11

A profoundly important book. A must read.

For anyone that is a lover of the American Republic, this is a must read book.

My only gripe: at times there are some weirdness in the sound production, but Lessig's reading is clear and persuasive.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Tony Loman
  • Tony Loman
  • 03-01-12

Required Listening

This book should be required reading (listening) for all Americans of all political persuasions. It is at the top of my list of nonfiction books read or listened to in 2011. Lessig's reading is passionate. His arguments and examples are convincing. You do not have to agree with every argument to be convinced of the basic conclusion of the book--that our government has been corrupted and stolen from the people by large corporate financial interests. Listen to the book and then join and become active in Rootstrikers or one of the several other organizations he lists.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Richard Nielsen
  • 18-01-12

Periods. Where there. Should. Not. Be. Periods.

I am going to write this review. Like the reader. Read. It. Throughout. He would start each sentence with a normal flow. And then. At the end. He. Would. Add. Pauses. This has the effect of making the sentences sound. Like. They had. Periods. Where there were. No. Periods. It would not have been so annoying. If. He only. Did. It. For. Emphasis. But instead, he did it on just about. Every. Single. Sentence.

I almost could. Not. Make it. Through. The. Book.

15 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • CHET YARBROUGH
  • 07-05-16

WAKE UP AMERICA

Lawrence Lessig is a professor of law at Harvard Law School. In “Republic, Lost” Lessig crystallizes the reasons for American apathy about voting in general elections; i.e. the state of America’s current “moneyocracy” makes a vote hardly worth exercising. Wake up America.

Though one appreciates Lessig’s critical evaluation of the American election system, his ivory tower solutions only reinforce voter apathy. Like the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, Lessig’s book is mired in a fantasy. Neither the inchoate “Occupy” movement nor Lessig’s intellectual exercise can change the inborn cause of American inequality; i.e., pursuit of money, power, and prestige, the unchanging nature of humankind.

Rights inherent in the freedom of American capitalism reward greed and denigrate or ignore altruism. The burgeoning gap between rich and poor aggravates and insures an American aristocracy of wealth. As long as corporations continue to endorse executive pay at 50 to 500 times the income of average employees, money will continue to distort democratic policy. Lessig presents the idea of paying legislators higher salaries to blunt corruption. To suggest, which Lessig does, paying a million dollars a year to a congressman to mitigate undue influence by corporations will only raise the stakes for moneyed interest’s distortion of public policy; not to mention, increase the chasm between haves and have-nots.

Capitalism is not a perfect system and people like Lessig are important because they reveal those imperfections. Americans are frustrated with politicians and the current political environment. People like Lessig and Obama give reason for hope that change for the better will come; never fast enough but always incrementally forward.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • movsrus
  • 08-06-14

Excellent book about money in politics

If you could sum up Republic, Lost in three words, what would they be?

Wake up call. Money in politics is like heroin to a junkie. Our elected members of Congress spend vast amounts of time on the telephone soliciting money- worse than panhandlers on street corners. Once they get the money, there is an acknowledged understanding that the people who gave the money get something in return. That corrupts the political system. Why is it that the managers running the largest hedge funds pay a lower tax rate than only the poorest in this country. Answer- money and their sway over the politicians who write the tax code.

This is a shameful situation and we should all be up in arms about how our political process is owned by the lobbyists, PACS and special interest groups.

What other book might you compare Republic, Lost to and why?

Flash Boys by Michael Lewis. His book shows how the big money people have scammed the stock market and front run the little guy. Just last week the new SEC Mary Jo White spoke about new regulations on the HFT traders but said that the market was not rigged against the little guy. Wrong- it is all a scam and the big money in this country gets to make the rules and circumvent the system.

What about Lawrence Lessig’s performance did you like?

Good arguments, lucid explanation of how we need to change things and some good suggestions about how to go about it.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The whole book is great. The examples he cites of how money has corrupted the system should make everyone who reads this book begin to demand change to get the cancer that is money in politics out of the system. Public funded elections with limitations on PACs, lobbyists and big money donors is the only way to control the corrosive effects of the system we have now.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Scott
  • 06-04-13

A Must read for anyone who wants to know what is w

What made the experience of listening to Republic, Lost the most enjoyable?

Lessig explores the problems associated with campaing finances as they relate to the disfunction in our government. It is a wonderful non-partisan exploration of how the people lost control of our representative govenrment to the monied few. Listen, learn, and act.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jo E. Meyertons
  • 09-02-12

Very important read, but drags a bit

I think Lessig is a brilliant speaker, but a so-so narrator. Without visuals to go with his spoken word, this listen tends to drag a bit here and there as he labors to make his points, though in the end the points are profoundly important to every American regardless of party affiliation. Ignore at your own peril, people.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Tony
  • Tony
  • 03-01-12

Required Listening

This book should be required reading (listening) for all Americans of all political persuasions. It is at the top of my list of nonfiction books read or listened to in 2011. Lessig's reading is passionate. His arguments and examples are convincing. You do not have to agree with every argument to be convinced of the basic conclusion of the book--that our government has been corrupted and stolen from the people by large corporate financial interests. Listen to the book and then join and become active in Rootstrikers or one of the several other organizations he lists.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Patrick Meng-Frecker
  • 28-08-19

Everyone should read this book!

Great material and some good ideas that I would like to help implement. This should be taught in schools

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-01-19

A good listen about money in politics

Lessig will reach down and rattle the soul of every person that wants a government of the people, for the people, and by the people. The book was as dry as the topic it covers but hammering through it, along with his politics, reveal a great ending with a grain of hope for our future.