2014 - 2015: Lawrence Lessig

Lawrence Lessig
"America: Compromised
Studies in Institutional Corruption"

"Institutional corruption” is the product of legal, even currently ethical influences that undermine the effectiveness of an institution, especially by weakening its public trust. In these first annual Berlin Family Lectures, Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig explores the application of this concept to a wide range of important public institutions with the aim to establish both the distinctiveness of the conception and its particular relevance to modern American life. Its very character saps the ordinary mechanisms by which institutions respond to charges of “corruption.” And as Lessig argues, the conception shows the need for a different perspective on the idea of institutional ethics — one focused less on the behavior of good or bad souls, and more on the consequences of institutional design. 

Autumn 2014 Berlin Family Lectures

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Image Gallery

View photos from the fall 2014 lectures.

About Lawrence Lessig 

Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and founder of Rootstrikers, a network of activists leading the fight against government corruption. He has authored numerous books, including Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Our CongressCode and Other Laws of CyberspaceFree Culture and Remix.

Lessig serves on the boards of Creative Commons, AXA Research Fund, iCommons.org, as well as on the advisory boards of the Sunlight Foundation, the Better Future Project and Democracy Café. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Association; has received numerous awards, including the Free Software Foundation’s Freedom Award, Fastcase 50 Award; and is one of Scientific American's Top 50 Visionaries.

Lessig holds a BA in economics and a BS in management from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in philosophy from Cambridge and a JD from Yale. He was a professor at the University of Chicago Law School from 1991-1997. Prior to rejoining the Harvard faculty, Lessig was a professor at Stanford Law School, where he founded the school’s Center for Internet and Society. He clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court.