Acton Institute Powerblog

Lessig to Fight ‘Corruption’

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Lawrence Lessig, a legal scholar and high-profile advocate of copyright reform, has decided to “shift my academic work, and soon, my activism, away from the issues that have consumed me for the last 10 years, towards a new set of issues.”

His new task? “‘Corruption’ as I’ve defined it elsewhere will be the focus of my work. For at least the next 10 years, it is the problem I will try to help solve.”

Just how does Lessig define “corruption”? In an extended Disclosure Statement and Statement of Principle, Lessig writes about his non-corruption principle, which is “about money.” Corruption is further defined as “the subtle pressure to take views or positions because of the financial reward they will bring you.”

Here is Lessig’s non-corruption principle, in its precise form: “I never promote as policy a position that I have been paid to advise about, consult upon, or write about. If payment is made to an institution that might reasonably be said to benefit me indirectly, then I will either follow the same rule, or disclose the payment.”

Lessig discloses the motivation for his decision, saying, “I am someone who believes that a free society — free of the ‘corruption’ that defines our current society — is necessary for free culture, and much more. For that reason, I turn my energy elsewhere for now.”

Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the VU University Amsterdam as part of the "What Good Markets Are Good For" project. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary.

Comments

  • I very much want to agree with his definition of corruption. It does address some of the misbehavior we see around us. However, corruption as is known around the world is not about advocating positions or beliefs but paying for actions. Examples include buying off officials to cross a border or to secure a permit. Such examples point to pressure which is anything but subtle.

  • Kingman Davis

    Financial rewards sounds like a pc term. Greed is more appropriate because the implication is that money is received and not morally earned. And the amount of money is disproportionate to the value of the services rendered.

  • if you try to fight corruption you may win or not win. So my comment is don’t fight your self. remember that the sun every human in this planet receives that light in their skin. join the light and receive information to track that simple corruption.