This event includes a book signing
February 1, 2019
3:00 PM ET
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store, the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and Mass Humanities welcome Harvard Law School professor LAWRENCE LESSIG—author of The Future of Ideas and Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace—for a discussion of his latest book, America, Compromised.
About America, Compromised
“There is not a single American awake to the world who is comfortable with the way things are.”
So begins Lawrence Lessig's sweeping indictment of contemporary American institutions and the corruption that besets them. We can all see it—from the selling of Congress to special interests to the corporate capture of the academy. Something is wrong. It’s getting worse.
And it’s our fault. What Lessig shows, brilliantly and persuasively, is that we can’t blame the problems of contemporary American life on bad people, as our discourse all too often tends to do. Rather, he explains, “We have allowed core institutions of America’s economic, social, and political life to become corrupted. Not by evil souls, but by good souls. Not through crime, but through compromise.” Every one of us, every day, making the modest compromises that seem necessary to keep moving along, is contributing to the rot at the core of American civic life. Through case studies of Congress, finance, the academy, the media, and the law, Lessig shows how institutions are drawn away from higher purposes and toward money, power, quick rewards—the first steps to corruption.
Lessig knows that a charge so broad should not be levied lightly, and that our instinct will be to resist it. So he brings copious, damning detail gleaned from years of research, building a case that is all but incontrovertible: America is on the wrong path. If we don’t acknowledge our own part in that and act now to change it, we will hand our children a less perfect union than we were given. It will be a long struggle. This book represents the first steps.
"America, Compromised join[s] an impressive array of books and essays that may, someday, have a future intellectual historian using them as examples to lament the fact that his or her contemporaries are not as eloquent or important as the group that arose in the Trump era to combat the threats to our way of life." —New York Times Book Review
"Readers concerned about the integrity of the country's core institutions will be enlightened—and perhaps even inspired to take action—by this erudite analysis." —Library Journal
"Lessig lays out a working definition and theory of corruption that is at once simple and comprehensive, a devastating argument that America is racing for the cliff's edge of structural, possibly irreversible tyranny." —Cory Doctorow
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
Unable to attend a Harvard Book Store author event? You can still pre-order a signed book by one of our visiting authors.
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Harvard Book Store's Friday Forum series takes place on Friday afternoons during the academic year as a way to highlight scholarly books in a wide range of fields, with a particular focus on local scholars.
The “Ethics in Your World” series, presented with Harvard University’s Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Ethics, features leading thinkers taking on tough problems that matter to us all. Learn more about the Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Ethics at ethics.harvard.edu.
Mass Humanities conducts and supports programs that use history, literature, philosophy, and the other humanities disciplines to enhance and improve civic life in Massachusetts. Learn more at masshumanities.org.
Featured event books will be for sale at the event. Thank you for supporting this author series with your purchases.
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