Larry Lessig on political finance

Larry Lessig’s TED talk posted last week is well worth a watch for two reasons. Firstly, Lessig is absolutely right and campaign finance reform would probably be the best thing for everybody in the US to get right next. I spent quite a lot of time there in the run up to the election and couldn’t quite believe how obscene the influence of small groups of political funders was. Even though the problem is on a very different scale in the UK, I think we should have the same response. I’ve posted some suggestions before on party funding reform.

Secondly, it’s a masterclass in the public presentation of ideas. I first came across Lessig in 2002 when he was giving his ‘Free Culture’ presentation. It completely changed the way I thought about Powerpoint (or more accurately Keynote I think) and made me realise how few presentations actually have that emotional impact. Charles Stross has a plot line in the Jennifer Morgue that involves a villain killing off intelligence officers by turning them into zombies through after lunch powerpoint presentations. In most cases, he’s not far wrong.

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