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tv   Panel Discussion on Corruption  CSPAN  January 31, 2015 2:15pm-3:39pm EST

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to they think the arrogance, you said good preparation for that battle, his tactical skills on the plains were only a third of a typical force on force. you think when he went out on the plains the field is doomed? eventually because his missteps that this was going to happen sooner or later? >> not necessarily. he could have survived little big horn right up until the end when he made his last move. when he put his battalions out of any realistic support, instead of going north he had gone south back of the way he came, instead of being four miles away he was two miles away or even if he had been tracking
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more closely with his other battalions were doing that was his failing. he should have kept better track of that seeing that reno was and moving forward like he was supposed to. he should have seen that movement and responded to it. the only thing i can think of why he would keep going was that other column that was supposed to be coming south to meet them in a pincer movement, maybe there was the remote idea that he could see carry in the distance or something like that. he was way far away. it was that final move. had custer been able to unite with them they would have made it through the battle because of those two battalions and three battalion's can make it. so no, i don't think it was inevitable and i don't think it was coming. he made mistakes and enumerated
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particularly his estimations of the real fatal one was the final move. some people say in the debate, was custer even alive? there was one theory went to the river and was killed and they carried his body back up. there's another theory, only a few guys went to the river and the rest of them kept going. those debates are endless but in my opinion if it is true that they all went down to the river they should have come back they should have known where reno was but they shouldn't. >> there was supposed to be a three prong attack on putting general cook at that time, custer had no idea he had met a few days earlier, chief crazy horse. they thought they were
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proceeding upward to meat altogether and i think to me it surprised me he didn't want anybody to know. >> i completely agree with that. quote really blew it. not only did he fail in his battle and decide to stop because he was out of ammo and according to one of his age he spent the next few weeks hunting and fishing, he didn't send any scouts out, didn't try to inform the other columns that were in the field operating against the enemy but back to the fort and to chicago and had to come back to fort lincoln and to the field and everything was over by the time anyone knew his guys were out side. he really blew it. i don't know why he doesn't get more criticism. he should have sent people out
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to inform people. scout couldn't have made it through. at least give it a shot. >> is there a surprising time going by? i will end questions and ask you to have some coffee drinks cookies, talk for a little bit. thank you for coming, thank you to our friends at c-span and hope you enjoy s. [applause] >> booktv is on twitter. follow us to get scheduling updates, author information, and other live programs. >> you are watching booktv, next
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zephyr teachout and janine wedel discuss corruption. >> the key for coming despite the nor'easter storm and terrible conditions. we appreciate it. there are some people who are attracted to tiny little problems they would like to solve and other people are attracted to chronic problems that are as old and deep as politics itself and corruption is one of those challenges. what i want to say, the pleasure of meeting just now.
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in an uplifting way. and if that is possible. so i am honored to introduce our panelists. first to zephyr teachout but who ran for governor of new york in the democratic primary. i was his running mate. the author of many books including "corruption in america: from benjamin franklin's snuff box to citizens united" which we are talking about today and a number of articles on corruption. to the left is janine wedel, an anthropologist at george mason university, the author of the book "unaccountable: how elite power brokers corrupt our finances, freedom, and security" which is here and there and the author shadow eat and numerous other books. our moderator hardly needs introduction, founder of the mayday pack, my mentor in law school my close friend and all-around person who is
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changing the world's. i will let him take it from here. >> thank you so much for participating in this incredible event. in new america, new york city. it was incredibly timely. for me incredibly exciting because these two books, i had seen zephyr teachout's grove for 27 yes and loved her book. but janine wedel i just had a chance to read and these two extraordinary books that perfect complement each other and they complement each other in the context of a moment where the culture we have six incredibly narrow conceptions of
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corruption. we think of corruption today, corruption is quid pro quo what bad people do, 1-third were elders do that is what corruption is so you can know, if you are not a criminal or a quid pro quo type, you are not engage in corruption. that is basically the view that dominate in the political space, it dominates in jurisprudence and dominates in so much of popular and professional culture. and these books come at that conception in two different ways. zephyr teachout's book gives us an incredible entry into understanding the conception of corruption at a time when america conceived of itself as defining a vision of a republic in contrast to a corrupted system which they knew and in
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some way believed had collapsed totally. this is an account of contemporary conception of corruption from think tanks to media to government to the academy so very close to the work at harvard. but there is no significant difference between these two. they are very different, they are talking about the same thing but very different. zephyr teachout's book is incredibly optimistic in a certain sense. i was struck watching her run for governor that there was a feature that is the most powerful, her smile. in this book, the problem she identified in this book is tied to a mistake, which makes you feel the problem is solvable if we can only get two people.
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janine's problem is her book is incredibly depressing. what exactly would you do to address this problem? there is one moment in the end of the book an extraordinary moment, she describes events, an incident at a t.s. a security check where she didn't want to be body scan so she had to use special screening and of course to punish her they made her wait and wait and wait before they would find a special screener and described herself as focused and disciplined positive and polite and kind as she possibly could be but each five minute she would ask and nobody can. and then she was going to catch
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her flight. she adopted a strategy to break this norm which was she started singing as loudly as she could the star spangled banner. the tee as a people looked through their list of regulations and it is not against the rules to sing the star spangled banner. they had no reason to tackle her or arrest her so the only thing they could do is get her out by finding somebody and let her go. but the general problem is if we are in this problem in so many seers, what is the whether we can use? the way we proceed with this, most of this conversation i want to have is a conversation between these two great authors
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of these great books and then we will have time for questions from the audience but i will start with zephyr teachout and allow her to address this problem that modern jurists have erased from history, the idea of corruption at the center of what the framers were talking about and help us understand how did they get it? i imagine there would have been an equivalent of her book that could have been written that describes a horrible state of the corruption in britain but someone saw that and figured out how to slip it when they came to america. >> e-book is really my far left exciting average to stand in the middle of the street and sing of the star spangled banner as loud as possible. it is a deeply patriotic book. and recognizing what i learned
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from where day. and the founders of the republic, the men who wrote the constitution got many things wrong. they got raise wrong, they got gender wrong but they have some powerful insights, the impulsive the book is to say if we are going to solve contemporary problems there is extraordinary value in identifying strains within our history in which there is extraordinary wisdom and value and delegating those because it will take something like singing the star spangled banner something more than going along and being cynical to break out of our current crisis of corruption. at the constitutional convention as i detail in the book there are many topics but the topic that comes out more than any other is the question of basically corruption money in
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politics, different ways in which money and power could lead public servants to represent themselves or friends, a small group instead of the public for their constituencies. starting to understand what the supreme court was doing, the defining corruption in some cases in 2006-2007 so let's see what they thought it is shocking to read a transcript of the convention. when the new yorker, alexander hamilton described the constitutional convention tried to enact every practical obstacle intrigue. that is an accurate description how they put up barriers and walls and a few examples to answer more fully, one thing
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that was most striking is their own version of what we think of as the revolving door problem. 50% of people go into congress and become lobbyists, a huge change from 30 years ago and also staffers come in and out morrison staffers, it is a whole network, revolved in and out of public and private roles, in many ways. at the time the revolving door problem of the convention area was the threat that people who would go into office, go into elected office or appointed office, get a great job at the post office, that you might not have many obligations so there is a way in which anyone who secured a lot of power, you basically take a parliamentarian
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and if you promise really well-paid job the parliamentarians would work for the king instead of the people in the constituency and mason who your school is named after describe the provision that would prohibit holding elective office as a cornerstone of the constitution, he didn't want people going to office and serving other masters. where they got it from is a blend of christian and aristoteles in thinking about corruption. but the aristotle ian thinking predominates. the convention had something to hang their hat on but really the arbiter in fact, puts virtue and corruption at the core of unsuccessful republican. if the public was not just
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corruption of those in office that is not corrupted an obligation as a citizen to stay public oriented in public actions not all actions, and talks about we are in real trouble when the citizens of a country give up and wait patiently, basically wheat patiently for the moment where they are hired by one of these private entities. the route that i see coming into the convention. >> when the framers were thinking about the corruption of parliament, that kind of corruption operated differently from thinking -- the thing they were worried about was different from the way an individual might go into parliament so he could get a particular appointment, the king having an improper role. >> those are related. the king have an improper role
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and there was concern about what franklin talked about love of money and love of power in the same place will excite the passion for the love of money and love of power in a great way and the worst people going to public office, those who want a lot of money and power as opposed to those who want to serve more publicly and systems that will attract people who have a public orientation. >> we agree on most. because your focus is still on individuals. the important thing is janine wedel brings out institutional structure so that was what they talked about. >> right. the way in which there are --
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there is a lovely history as you know, the language of freedom and independence are powerful words in american history and i focus on what is happening in this country and independent at the time was seen as a kind of opposite to corruption and independence was an opposite of dependence and the dependence and corruption is very similar and you can see in the thinkers that the founders relied upon, they will use dependence and corruption sometimes interchangeably. the problem was you would have institutions within the institutions, inappropriate dependencies outside and we are not independent of private power. independent of the king. they thought about corruption as
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a structural, and in to encourage the wrong kind of dependencies. >> that is the think of blindness -- the will only think of corruption in individual ways, refuse to think about it in instructional ways. and this is a really interesting difference and accounts that the two of you give your book is very much a letter to the supreme court justice or two supreme court justices. part of that letter as i tried to emphasize, not people who otherwise say we are going to interpret the constitution of the way the framers would interpret it, zephyr teachout's book is a way of saying here's what framers would understand corruption to mean and it is radically inconsistent with the narrow conception of corruption you are offering right now. another part of the story you
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are telling is the way in which there is a long tradition of protecting institutions like government against -- all of a sudden this appeared. the question is motivating the justices to do that paula feels to me that you can see corruption as a quid pro quo. that is a return to the people who are advancing that idea but you think justices are on the supreme court? >> it would be a great puzzle, i genuinely do. there are provisional ideas like why we see 200 years one of the jobs of course in general is to protect against all these kind of corruption. and then we see that understanding, what is justice
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roberts really thinking, and and i propose a bunch of ceres, and i see a provisional trapper, i see as engage in this question. one theory is apart of a network of will be sought economic way of thinking about the world and that relies on the vision of what relies on the selfish it arises. basically egotistical view of the person that people are fundamentally selfish you leverage their self interest for good things as possible and when they go to sleep and think about policy thinking about economics in the model of the personality.
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another which was related to these economic was a belief that the best way to govern was outside democratic representation. it is so fantastic the market was abetted distributor of public goods than the collective public coming together in representative way so as much as we can remove politics from distribution of goods the better it is. politics and democratic politics is it self correcting corruption and run through that as much as possible. i see another sort of argument i put out there is not controversial, is we have a current supreme court that doesn't have people with experience on it. they do not know of what they speak. they have a fantasy about the way politics works and no idea what it is like to make strategy
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and think how important that $2,000 or $6,000 is. and corrupting the private system for campaign finance. >> there are reasons for this mistake. it is hard to see them as doing it for their personal self interest, the different account that you are offering in any contexts where it certainly serves the interests of people who go from government to private interests to conceive of corruption in this narrow way to celebrate the anti-corruption campaigns which are fighting corruption because it makes it easy for them to have enormous personal gain. you see it as tied to that motive.
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>> i talked about structured and accountability and how accountability gets structured into corporate and government organizations and then about the players and the way in which they very often don't even seem to be aware of what -- of the terrain on which they are playing. my background and my approach is as a social anthropologist and as someone who worked in eastern europe under communism and after communism and i studied the difference between how the system said it worked and how it actually worked. or doesn't work. one thing that i chartered was
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what is called dirty togetherness. it was working under the table, doing deals. in that context, it was people needed to do this under communism in order to get that cut of meat or gasoline or passport to travel abroad, you needed to have net worth and you need to have these long term informal deals with people and after the wall fell and i was still there working and trying to understand what would transpire, what i noticed what what has been called free corruption instead of a new corruption which is one on one corruptions it takes place in a single venue that the economists like to charge as opposed to people who are working in a systemically and across
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institutions so what i saw was the one time government official who also was working for western bake who also had his own foundation connecting the dots and overlapping having multiple land overlapping roles and using the information in one venue for use in another and fast forward a number of years to the west and i began to see very similar dynamics including the divergence between what the system purports to be and what people on the ground, what we realize is actually happening. for instance, it used to be retired generals when they retired 20 years ago, i have a database that shows that
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predominantly retired generals and admirals would actually retire, golf or play with their kids and now today predominantly, that is most continue to serve in a variety of ways in the defense industry. for instance a retired general will sit on a government advisory board that affords him access to proprietary information while at the same time serving as consultant to a defense company or even setting up a venture-capital or being part of venture-capital. somebody at the same time he is at a think tank, the same time he has a philanthropic activity as well. this is what i called representational juggling and the problem is we've the public, it is an information problem.
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we the public don't know what role or what the agenda is being played out at any given conflict so it is a problem as zephyr teachout said of serving multiple masters and that goes back to the bible, noting that that could be a problem, way back then. so when we are seeing a retired general on television we have no way of knowing whether there is some agenda other than his actual expertise being presented or whether there is another agenda. this problem is systemic. unfortunately we see it across the board in so many different arenas. economists, academic economists there was a study that came out
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a few years ago that showed -- chided the activities of 19 economists, academic economists who were testifying before public bodies including congressional opportunities and so on in the run-up to the financial crisis and always -- they always helped and identified by the most prestigious affiliations so the most neutral affiliations with the think tanks or university professor rather than working as a consultant for a company or an industrial and again there is an information problem. the agenda is obscured. the reason i think that i have
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been primed to see it going on is in eastern europe in the 80s and after communism because so much of what went on there was under the radar it was hidden in order to get things done. you couldn't operate the way the system said you should operate. it was impossible so you had to have networks you had to use your contact even if you were an official working in a stable organization. the only way you got things done was informally. that is why there are so many of these guys who are manager were drinking all the time because you have to drink with people in order to make deals so it is an institutional systemic problem and we are seeing the in formalization of influence right here in the united states. it is not just with airbnb and
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the solutions people are turning to under financial stress. it is some much more endemic problem and we would think that traditionally the media, one would think would be there to help us sort this out. this is clear the investigative journalists, really should be helping us connect the dots out of the network and helping us to look into people's roles and so on. the problem is not so that it in the past and splintered and recite this vast universe we live in a parallel we see with eastern europe and other scholars have noted it as well,
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there is a media messaging and john stuart actually shows this very well so you know he will switch from one channel to another channel and people on different channels are saying the same thing. they are taking it across, getting a crosses message even using the same words and lines. this is exactly what we saw, striking parallels to this with late -- under communism, this formulaic media messaging, and how we respond to that? we the public we the citizens we do something people under communism also do, we turn to parity, we turn to parity so hence the popularity of john stuart and steven colbert and
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the sense that their presentations can convey information and truth that can't be quite stated in the media. >> let me get back to thinking about how this was remedy. >> the general example is a good one. 90% of former journals, they are trading on that, that is a contract, radical contract when nobody did it and for very -- this is similar to harvard medical school, talk to professors in their 70s 480s, 60s and 70s, nobody at harvard medical school would have taken
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money from a drug company, but today if you don't take money from a drug company signals you are not very good. everybody feels like they do and they must. this is what everybody is doing. why wouldn't you do it as well. the striking part of the story that distinguished it from the economist. the mentor generals, there was the rule that required them to disclose their conflict and almost overnight, all of them stopped the relationship because it was too embarrassing, the shame that they want to be in a position of defending with the shame of to is too great so given their past, the behavior they had developed, that was a second remedy, the disclosure made it go away. economists on the other hand
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don't care, doesn't matter, almost a mark of virtue and think about transparency, it is not a remedy. >> never thought of it this way. there was an interesting -- it is important to reflect on what situations can people be named and shamed. maybe they can be named but the shaming doesn't stick. instead it seems if you belong to certain in the networks, you quell it failing up you continue to get promoted by all of your performance on the job would indicate you shouldn't be. but one thing i have been wondering about and would be interested to get feedback on is
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the issue of bringing in outsiders and the role that they can play, the case where she was brought in to play institutionally to play this role of the outsider and she was wired and ended up exposing, too cozy relationship between the fed and the banks, and in a sense, institutions and organizations circles with people, need to be encouraged to do. so the physicians that are key opinion leaders, who are purged and/or paid by pharmaceutical
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companies to influence the opinion of our physicians so we go to a physician and we may not know our physician may not know he or she has been influenced by one of these key opinion leaders very high state people who have sat on the boards of medical journals are in there, professors in medical school and so on, but think about, what about discussions within circles that also involve outsiders? the challenge here is how to get outsiders in and out -- how to encourage the generals or relevant medical community to understand they really have to pay attention to how people think about them. how does revolution happen? >> maybe it doesn't.
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that is kind of the experience you and kim had? you were outsiders in the political process and were not qualified for the state. they have no money. they are treated as second-class candidates, they wouldn't debate with you because why would they debate with you? you couldn't possibly win because you have no money. this feature of the structure of the system of that money is essential makes it possible to exclude so everybody on the inside is complicity in the game you are describing this trade -- your experience, what was striking about your campaign is you seem to find a way to get people to react to that because of you is they don't care about
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it. is that true? you describe what would that was like to get people to understand and react? >> i have a secret sauce, i would be giving it away. but i will say -- i think we were able to get through in part because there is such a sense in the media of the deadness in political language like the poetry of modern politics, people just don't -- you don't have to be a poet to be in politics but people speak so many steps away from how they would honestly speak that it feels like they are lying even when they are telling the truth. to be able to have enough
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freedom which we did have because we didn't have big donors we had to please, we have freedom for other reasons but that freedom is very attractive. it relates to the freedom people feel when they see outside news sources too, a different way of talking. it is in the structure of thought. too much is made of the fact that people are not coming out to vote because they are not hearing the right message. i often think that still focuses on the magical serum of the message formulas that will bring people out to vote. i suspect that people will come out to vote if they feel something more akin to leadership or truth telling and in fact one of the pathologies of the current system is it drains you to not be a leader. it drains you to be a beggar.
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that is true not just in running for office because your job in running for office insisting over and over that we understand 30% to 70% of the time congress never spends time raising money. it trains you, forget the numbers think about what that means, think about what your job is so that it trains you to not be a leader, trains you to not be a truth teller but the deliver of messages that resonates with people who give that money. and other areas too. law school deans and nonprofit heads all have the same job so we ask something weird of the public which is come out to vote for people who do not seem like they are leaders because they are trained at falling, they are not trained in leading. that was part of it, we felt some freedom there. i do think that i talked about a
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sleeping giant. the reason it is important to engage is it is so weird and rare in world history to have self-government. we should not take that for granted at all or even see the threat to self-government as odd a little incursions' that are easily fixed. it is very easy to have an oligarchy, very rare to have a democracy and get we still have some of that shame, vestiges of that kind of shame, we still have a deeply civics course of history and culture so we can have it now and rouse the technical legal rights it is important to fix the system. >> one thing that was striking in contrasting the problem is confronting and describing and the way you describe it is you and i have been engaged in a common project and it is
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relatively easy in this sense, when you call out the enemy they are kind of nameless, we can say it is a terrible system to have such a tiny number of people funding elections, a funding system that you can say without feeling like you are hurting anybody you know well because even they would say, some of our friends who are big donors would say this is a terrible system. i hate this system and we need to change the system but what is striking about this for you are telling is the enemy is within. they are our friends. there is no good party and that party. both parties are just as bad and when you go to the people you name points i cringe because i know those people, really hard in that way, a tight connection it felt to me because you can imagine the late part of the communist period people who understood how this thing had to
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>> reporter: it was so hard to act because you were acting against your neighbor your friends in some sense this is who they are, when you talk about suggesting we rallies this movement against these people i wonder who is going to stand up and attack them. .. >> you see that in public opinion polls across the board not just in this country that people no
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longer have faith have trust in public -- or in formal institutions whether it's courts or parliaments or churches or media. so so it's a real issue that we're living with. and then the response to that is to go informal and to find these, and to find these informal solutions. but i think the only way to begin to rebuild public trust is through this sort of leadership and leaders standing up and, you know i think elites have to begin to understand that these, you know, that these activities are not going to serve them in a long-term, in a long-term -- in a long-term way. and there are things that we can do in the meantime. and one of them is to really
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focus on how we -- it might sound farfetched but the whole system of accountability, this checklist accountability that is everywhere, it's in education it's in finance it's in the anti-corruption industry, and the problem is that one single, one lone number, one simple number is supposed to convey the complexity or the health of an entire company or school or country, that whether a country is -- how corrupt a country is. and this has become so endemic in everything that we do. and this is seen in practically every system, and it's seen as accountability. and yet it has the same problem we were just talking about. it's accountability from the outside through checklists and
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measures without any without ethics. without, without this sort of -- >> right -- >> i just jump in just for a second? >> yeah. >> so tim and i named names and i think that's absolutely essential. and are continuing to name names and that i when i look back at the populist era, and i think the populist era is really important because we were in a terrible place in 1900 just absolutely concentrated power incredible networks of, you know, informal networks -- >> with yeah. >> -- in very similar ways. and journalists really led the fight. politicians were important but journallests led the fight, and they were naming names. it wasn't corrupt system, it was this particular person. so last week i named a name, dan loeb. as far as i can tell, he's done nothing illegal. >> right. >> but is spending millions of dollars of his own money to take over education policy in new
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york. but i think these -- and he and i have a lot of mutual friends. >> yeah, but -- >> and so this is like, this is real, and i think it's a way to engage the fight and also a way to build trust. because if you're not naming names, it feel like it's a fantasy where you can redistribute power -- >> yeah so we can hope that politicians will name names and be like you and win but in the context that you're describing you know, imagine in the academy your colleagues at the law school, you know, and some of them are out there engaging in the kind of behavior you're characterizing as corrupt behavior not because they personally are corrupt but because they're selling their opinion to the highest bidder or if you're in the economics department or if you're a doctor among these -- the point is these are your colleagues right? and to imagine the strength that it takes to stand up and name names in that context is an extraordinary amount of strength. and so what i'm asking you what the mechanism to get you out of
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this, you know, talking about let's assume we have an ethics beyond a checklist a little bit like the economist assuming the solution theory -- >> right, right -- >> which is a hard thing. what do we do to get to that place? >> well, i mean, you know i've concentrated on trying to -- it takes all my time to try to figure out given how fast things are changing to try to understand these relationships. and that we see in finance, in media, we also see it in education, and these are systemic problems. and, you know, i've focused -- it's crucial to follow the money. and you both have done, you know just spectacular jobs of exposing the problems there. i've concentrated on and think it's important for us to follow the players because as zephyr has put it so well it's not a
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simple quid pro quo. very often these players are engaged in long-term relationships, and it's not simple dealmaking. and it's often brand making. so michael chertoff, i mean michael chertoff who was the former homeland security chief has his own firm. he's always on tv as a terrorism expert, now the islamic state. he's -- this is part of brand building. he's not, i would assume, getting paid by the media for those op-eds. >> right. >> so i think the first thing is, i mean i know it's -- we have to come up with -- [laughter] solutions, and that's the most important thing here. but the first thing i think is to really get a much better handle on the system isic nature
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of -- the systemic nature of the problem and the subtlety asks how under the table, under the ray a daughter. this is -- radar. this is corruption that's much less visible much harder to detect, more elusive than the corruption we've seen in the past that's not the simple bribe. it's not just need-based corruption. so, i mean the first thing i think is to do what you all are doing, is to try to get a discussion going. and in different circles i think this cross-fertilization of circles and getting outsiders and -- i mean, what would the postman or the store concluder say about this activity -- store clerk say about this activity? >> yeah. what's striking is you feel like you do have a solution, at least in the domain you're -- >> i do. [laughter] i've got two. >> we've got to stick together. [laughter] >> well, the first is, i mean,
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this doesn't solve everything but for elected officials we -- private fundings of campaigns has failed. we have to have public financing of elections. because the current system makes it close to impossible to get elected without being dependent on private interests. >> yeah. >> that's a failed system. it isn't doing what it's supposed to do, you know? that is a plausible immediate change that can have real impact on -- you're slidfying some brand -- solidifying some brand builders, but at least there's the freedom to be an elected officials and not be working for a handful of big interests. and the other is break up all the big companies. [laughter] don't laugh. [laughter] and i think -- >> i want you to focus on the possible ones, the possible -- >> it's absolutely possible. [laughter] actually, you know what's so funny, of course i think of these two as tied together in a
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deep way, but one has a more obvious emotional connection. when you talk about wreaking up comcast -- breaking up comcast/time warner, public financing of elections is harder. the connection is that one looks at once institution and wealth is accumulated, how can it be instituted as power, and what kind of institutions do we want to have exist? what are institutions of our economy? and i often think the sort of original sin of political science is the separation with economics, and separation with political science so that if we tried to study either of these in splendid isolation from each other, we actually have a false portrait of power as it exists. and what that means is building an economic system with greater distribution. so it's actually harder to be -- even if you're chertoff, it's harder to be ther haven't of a -- the servant of a few small interests because the number of -- [inaudible] is greater.
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so change funding of campaigns and break up big companies. >> they're both about decentralizing power. >> yes exactly. >> what's interesting about that way of framing it is it's actually potentially, cross-partisan. for example, even an economist who's a libertarian economist from the university of chicago writes about political antitrust. and his point is that the antitrust law can't just think about the efficiency of markets it's also got to worry about whether there are actors who are so powerful that they can bend the government -- >> yeah sure. >> -- to protect players in the market. so this is the reunion of these two branches that are essential to deal with this problem. but his solution is the same, decentralize. >> yeah. >> o.k.. i want to decentralize the information -- [laughter] >> zephyrer, i haven't read your book yet but i was wondering when you did your research on the founding fathers whether you
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saw in them any strain that democracy is inherently corrupt and that the answer to corruption is not more democracy, but less democracy? and it certainly seems like that at least in the way the system was set up certainly at least initially in my mind what they had in mind, in other words set up a system that really isn't democratic and that was really the great fear that they had that the two go hand in hand. and i was just wondering whether you detected any of that in your historical research. >> yeah. there's no unity of the people -- so let's just talk about the constitutional convention itself as sort of the folks who are writing the constitution. and there isn't a unity in the solution to the puzzle of public servants serving private ends and how to build truly less corrupt systems. there's a unity in the focus on
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corruption. so, actually, the sort of core argument of the book is that we can -- again, because it really starts as a letter to the court to say you've got corruption all wrong. we can agree about solutions but you have to understand that the constitution is an anti-corruption document, and by that we mean a document that is dedicated not to stop a few bribes here and there but to actually build a system that is, has the best protections against public servants becoming servants of private ends. i, you know, some of the folks at the convention had that focus. that is not the dominant focus. certainly those who push back. there's this active debate within the convention between those who see heats as more likely -- elites as more likely to be corrupt and those who see the exact opposite. so the double debate. and then different institutions
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which are created, you know, we have the senate and the house of representatives reflecting these sort of different impulses. and, actually, you know, the madisonian approach is, well, the senate will protect against some kinds of demagoguery, and the house of representatives will product against the corrupting nature of small, elite institutions. because they certainly talked about the corrupting nature of small institutions. >> yes you. sir. >> [inaudible] >> thanks very much for a very stimulating and informative debate. throughout -- >> we debating? [laughter] >> the conversation people have always pursued interests, they've always manipulated, they've always looked for a better deal, and they've always called it that's the way we do business. and what i think we've got is a very interesting dichotomy. as i understand from zephyr's perspective and looking at parts
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of the book, one way around it was some better court decisions better institutions. some of the decisions that were made along the way were pretty grim and as a result, this is what we've got. what janine's saying essentially, is we don't know how we're in this situation because everything's so so informal -- is so informal. and not knowing, we have to have very unorthodox sorts of approaches like single the star-spangled banner. way outside the rules. [laughter] and the question essentially, is if we're trying to rejig and reorient where's our point of intervention? so often we talk about the nation-state as the point of intervention. america is corrupt or not corrupt. we know that zimbabwe is probably more corrupt than denmark, but that's not very helpful. you know, what are the intervexes, what are the institutions, what are the points of -- are there points of intervention that might be appropriate?
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>> well, i think we've described, i think we've described some of them already. i mean one of the -- the reason i talked about that and i feel like i should sing it now but i won't -- [laughter] >> i think you should. >> that's at the end. >> oh, at the end okay. [laughter] it's because, and it was just, you know a little example of this sort of parody -- parity strategy that was used by the yes men. and there are different groups like that that have used, basically, a lie. i mean what they did in one cates -- in one case was they put out in the media that the company that was responsible for the bhopal disaster in india in the '80s, that that company was suddenly going to pay
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reparations to all those people you know whose lives were ruined or seriously upended by it. and, of course, that wasn't true. but it forced the company to respond to that. so that's, that was the -- so there's that very sort of crazy thing. but that's obviously, ad hoc and piecemeal. it's not systemic. we've talked about regulation of course, one of the things we immediate to do is not -- we need to do is not, is understand that willinglation doesn't end with the -- regulation doesn't end with the president's signature. the devil is in the details, and we've certainly seen that in the aftermath of dodd-frank where there provisions are being watered down and cut out and so on. and also that the passage of laws then often leads to or can lead to unintended consequences.
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i mean we've seen that with regard to lobbyists that in 2007 there were restrictions passed on lobbyists, more restrictions were put into place. and that may be why there's been such a growth in what i call shadow lobbyists. the number of registered lobbyists has actually declined by about 25% since 2007. so, i mean, i hate to say again, we need to inform ourselves, but we really need to have a much better grasp of -- and understand that the world around us has changed so quickly and so dramatically that, you know, that it's very hard to -- >> yeah. one of the things your book does very well, zephyr your book does very well in telling the history of this is to describe the wide range of peoplerration
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that legislatures engaged in and courts engaged in to try to address this problem. understanding it had to evolve the problem would be different it had to -- and the consequence of what the supreme court has done is to eliminate 90% of those possible interventions. >> [inaudible] >> yeah. a series of bad discussions which make it so that the only thing that they can address is this one tiny sliver of the problem. and so part of the -- >> we want yeah far more experimentation. >> yeah, yeah. >> so what the court says is there's things you cannot do. you can pass anti-bribery laws and you can have private financing of election, you can't limit this kind of aggregate spending. so basically the range, and i think of -- not to be glib about it, but i think of democracy as, like a constant game of whack-a-mole. there will not be a permanent solution and we shall seek it lovingly. because, and that each country and each moment in time we
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should address the individual pathologies of that time as they exist and continue to respond to them. because i don't actually have an end-of-history view that we can achieve a completely stable world where those in power don't try to then again accumulate even more power. >> til. til. >> i guess i did the introduction, but i can ask questions too. i've been becoming alternatively optimistic and depressed. [laughter] one thing you all agree on is remedies are one of the hardest questions we're facing and transparency's overrated i think all of you agree as the remedy. you're saying it's an information problem, but i think so often the problem we see is some investigative report reveals that oh, my god, this person's -- unless it's criminal, it's like, well, that was an interesting little story, and then nothing happens. i mean there's so many articles about people who have done this
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and that and unless it involves blocking a bridge. and even then no one loses their job or it takes going to jail. so that remedy is, you know, as one of the theories out will, even one of the founders' theories is nothing would really work unless you had the right kind of virtue in people. and is will any -- that sounds so sort of naive, hopeless, but the is it possible somehow to try to institutionalize or encourage people who are just incorruptible themselves in politics, or do you think that's a hopeless way of doing this, this roman idea of virtue as a starting point in trying to create a better politics or an anti-corruption mission? >> i want to respond, first, to what you described first because i actually think there are some things that can be done in that area. i feel like a lot of reporters sort of came up reporting on the
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west wing, and now we're in game of thrones -- [laughter] and we're still reporting like we're in the west wing with a few exceptions. so it changes the way you report. >> yeah. >> so instead of a single story about institutional corruption, that should be the ongoing story. so it's not watergate reporting it's ida tarbell reporting. and there are just different kinds of reporting. you are a great example of that kind of systemic machine politic reporting instead of, like, acting as if we're still in west wing land. and i think that helps. i think the moralism is key. but, actually, to your yes men point, i think art is key too ask sort of engaging people -- and sort of engaging people in the artistic sense about so we don't put up running for office as something you do as a martyrdom or if you're a really, really inspired scold. but as something which there's some, like joy and morality. >> yeah. i mean i think it's important to recognize a bunch of the
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corruption you're talking about won't really be understandable as good versus bad. >> that's right. >> i mean you -- >> that's absolutely right. >> -- think about the academic who is choosing to become an expert in a case that's forcing her to do things which she otherwise won't do, but she's doing it because this is the best way she can get her kid into private school and she thinks her kid has to get into private school. that person is motivated for the best possible reasons taking care of their family. and it lets -- and the idea of saying to that person you ought to be, you know, virtuous, her response is i am being virtuous. so it's hard to just imagine that you will yourself out of this without thinking of structural changes that give the possibility, the hope of people to do the right thing. >> oh, go ahead. >> i was just going to say that's why i think there needs to be sort of real discussion. if we're playing we ourselves are playing within the
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community, professional and otherwise, if we ourselves are playing overlapping roles, let's talk about it. because it is it is subtle. it often is -- it is subtle. it often is act billous -- ambiguous. and we know that we tend to respond most to what our peers do and take our cues from our peers. and so that's, you know, hence the structural problem. but i do think that again, that it is out isn't easily seen as good and bad. that's what makes it so problematic. >> sorry to go on but one thing i notice also when i think about this problem which is intractable for a lot of the things you're talking about, the general, the economist, politicians and revolving doors is you notice an absence of hard choices anymore, you know, in the sense that i can be an economist, be fully accredited, have this great title but then also rake in a whole bunch of
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money. also i can write for newspapers when i have an opinion oning something, and there's never a point at which you have to choose. i want to be rich, i want to be prestigious. and it seems different in this our era that you don't have to choose. >> yeah. >> the fact is if you do actually work for a corporation it's very hard to place an op-ed. >> exactly. that's why you need the think tank or the university. >> eliminate the hard choices, it feels like. >> this is where larry and i disagree, i'm not sure. i think shame plays a very important role. and there's nobody whose hand i wouldn't shake and there's nobody who i wouldn't have a full conversation with, but i think that there is a value in calling out and shaming individuals. because otherwise i think it's hard to create that sense of hard choices. so the solution can still be structural, but i think in the interim creating a sense that there is a cost to engaging in some of these non-illegal or
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legal corruption, i think there's a value in that. >> i think i agree with both of you. [laughter] >> well then, by the principle of trancetivity, we don't disagree. [laughter] you had a question. >> i guess in the interest of full disclosure, i am janine's publisher -- [laughter] i think it is funny though, that -- [inaudible] this concept of shame. and one of closing chapters of janine's book is talking about this naming and shaming game, and i think there's different ways to have this shaming. like you, receiver, you're kind of in a public position to call people out. hello, you donated millions of dollars to fund your policy goals but, janine could you maybe elaborate on how we as individuals shame these people that we see doing things that are legal corruption but still maybe not ethical? this idea of kind of naming and shaming that we also amorphously agree on. >> >> yeah. i think that's where we really need the investigative
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reporters. and it's become a lot more complicated because so much more of goring and policy these days -- governing and policy these days is outside of formal government, and people do play overlapping roles. and the ethical problem comes in when the roles aren't disclosed when somebody's testifying before a public committee and using the more neutral or prestigious affiliation of a think tank or university without disclosing the corporate the corporate role. so i think the reason i agree with both of you is because i think that what zephyr is suggesting is a step to this naming and shaming is a step to -- >> right. >> -- can be a step to addressing the more systemic corruption. the calf yacht to that, potentially -- caveat to that potentially, is shaming doesn't
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always work. and as has been pointed out by tim. and that i hi, depends on, has something to do with the nature of the -- >> for example, you said the economists don't give a damn and are just going to do it anyway. that's unfair to economists -- >> and proud of it. >> and proud of it. right, that's the more general point. in our own field if you wander around to other academics who are doing consulting and said that's outrageous, you are behaving up ethically what they would say is why am i behaving unethical in and then you would invoke this big theory about why this creates the wrong influences inside. but the point is it doesn't engage at the same plus of shame -- same place of shame that it might engage when you're talking about somebody that's taking a bribe. so this is a challenge -- >> yeah, right. >> you are defining the wrong
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and we have to believe it before you can actually invoke the emotional power of correcting -- >> uh-huh, that's right. yeah. right. we have -- [inaudible conversations] >> yeah, yeah. >> yes, you had a question. the microphone, one second. >> okay. i'm curious as to what the venues are for these discussions, these open discussions and conversations. because i'm really sick and tired of things happening racially and gun problems and school shootings and all the rest of us. we're all, everybody on tv and everything we're all talking about these conversations. where are these considerations? where is the venue for them to have an effect? [inaudible] we're having conversations where does it go? i mean, how, i how do we get that across when the only way to get to any moment where you have a thoughtful conversation is in
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the public domain which seems to be controlled by money? i went, i heard you speak twice on radio -- [laughter] [inaudible] not once did you mention -- [inaudible] you only talked about -- [inaudible] and that was the most important thing to me, because every time my husband and i have donated to politicians, they call us and we get the e-mails every day, and it's all about money and that's all. the issues disappear. it's all about money. so i don't see how you get around that to have these conversations -- [inaudible] [laughter] change everything. which is a possibility. i'm tired of going to marches. i'm too old. [laughter] [inaudible] >> well thanks for your support. [laughter]
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i don't know. i don't know except by doing. so in the last week i've had about six of these conversations. most are not televised, and that is sort of what i do as a way -- and they're about different things, you know? one was about access, you know it was actually about sort of institutional corruption and access to capital by black entrepreneurs in new york state. one was about education policy. one was about, you know, sort of questions of constitutional law. so i am sort of personally playing around with those moments. but, you know, the great -- what is it passage to india? only connect, only connects the passage and the prose and both will be exalted? so my own personal strategy is to sort of persistent connection and hoping that something can
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happen there. so maybe you shouldn't stop going to marches. [laughter] >> that's nice. >> i think we have time -- >> [inaudible] [laughter] >> okay. first, as someone who is in an entirely different field i'm glad to hard that art gets a shout out. i'm a theater director so yea. >> great. >> but i guess i wanted to ask, i think the remedy of making public-funded campaigns would be great, but i think we're also talking about the cost of engaging in those things. and i wonder about the cost of citizens engaging or not engaging. because i think even though public-funded campaigns would maybe get us a better selection of people to vote for with like gerrymandering so rampant i feel like it often feels like there is no cause to voting or no voting because it was going to be rigged. so even if you have a better person to vote for in each
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category, it feels like it often won't make a difference. is there -- do you have some sort of -- what is the remedy to the lower levels of corruption? we mentioned yeah citizenship as a role being corrupted. how do we sort of uncorrupt that as well? >> well, i am on a kick to get more people with artistic backgrounds to run for office. so we should talk. [laughter] but i will tell you one of the reasons that people do not -- not one of the reasons, the reason creative, deeply political people are not running for office is because they do not want to raise money in the way that they currently have to raise money. it is the biggest barrier. it is the biggest barrier for women. public finance is a key feminist issue. we know more women run for office in a public financing system. it's a perp of color system. -- person of color system. and, of course most, you know along with all this it is a class issue because we know
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people who do not have pre-existing circle of friends who can finance their first one to $200,000 do not run for public office. and so i asked a young person the other day are you not going to run for office because it's square or because it's corrupt? she said a little square, a little corrupt. [laughter] so we've got to make it less square and less corrupt. it changes what they do, what their daily job is, how their job is to listen more broadly, then you have a lot more meetings with the public and a lot fewer meetings with the super wealthy. that changes how many people engage in another way, and then that changes who is voting in albany for a gerrymandered system. so i think they're all connected. >> in the back here. >> so i -- very close, okay. "the new york times" had a really powerful story this weekend about how attorneys
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generals are banding together for republicans, really horrifying and then dfa's been sending me mails for two days about helping elizabeth warren because she's under attack. what is the risk in the current system that renegades like elizabeth warren are going to be knocked out, and what can we do to help preserve them and keep them in? >> your turn. [laughter] larry, do you want to take this? i feel like i've been answering the questions. >> well massachusetts will keep elizabeth warren in, i think. no tout about that. no doubt about that. but it's an important question because there are people who are powerful, great represent thetives in that slice -- representatives who are not as powerful as elizabeth warren who are easily swamped by the incredible amounts of money that can be devoted against them. so i think the only answer is we've got to get to a place where it's not a tiny tiny few who have this concentrated power in the first stage of an election which is the money
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election. but instead it's all of us who have that power. i mean, this is -- the parallel that i think people miss that i city is so compelling. think about the protests in hong kong. those kids were presented with a system of, quote democracy. the system was a committee of 1200. we're going to pick the candidates that the res of hong kong could -- the rest of hong kong could then vote for. and what the kids in hong kong said was this is not democracy you're crazy. .024% of hong kong will get to pick who we get to vote for? no no, no, we should be able to pick who we vote for participate in both the nominations as well as the elections. well, of course, the system we have here is exactly that system. because there's two elections. the first election is the green primary. in the green primary, a tiny, tiny number get to pick who the candidates are. the people who fund these elections. you know, i'd calculate it's
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about 150,000 americans. same number of people as are named lester in the united states right? [laughter] so we have the same tiny tiny number who have this extraordinary power that they took to the streets for. why can't we take to the streets for it, right? and i think part of that is just getting us to see how we've been denied this kind of democracy because of this concentration. and it's not just going to block the elizabeth warrens, it's going to block any sensible person who wants to be able to participate who doesn't have that rolodex. okay. i think we are coming to time. let's take one more. can we take one more question? in the back here. >> rats, i had two, and the first one was going to be if corruption is the same as, what was it the -- [inaudible] >> yes dependence, does the fact that we have a different set up of labor right now, how does that change now? but, instead i'm going to ask what do you think of what do
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all three of you think of the approach of tackling corporate personhood as an issue? is this effective or misguided in some way? >> i used to think it was misguided. because i don't think it's the key issue which, i mean it's certainly not what the court is turningen to. the supreme court is -- turning on. the supreme court is not turning, the citizens united decision is not expect on personhood. it goes to the idea of the right to hear regardless of the creator of the speech. that said, i guess i identify identify -- i've seen energy around it, and i think that energy is worth following. and so the fact that it may not be the technical reason for citizens united, but is, there is something about the way the court answers, corporations, even if it's not directly that's somewhat disturbing, and the extraordinary energy suggests this is the way many many
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americans understand their own experience of being completely out of power. and so i think it's worth connecting on that. my own focus, of course is on sort of concentrated wealth not the corporate form itself. so i sort of tend to move towards antitrust, anti-monopoly and then really celebrating, because i think it's worth celebrating, a vibrant small business marketplace. and i think that it can be the thing that's lost, is the celebration of the deeing centralized economic marketplace. >> i would just add to that, um, a statement that the biggest problem i think or huge problem for our country our society is the intertwining of corporate and state power. and to see corporations a


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