Ethics in Your World with Larry Lessig


Tuesday, November 5, 2019, 6:00pm to 7:30pm


Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA 02138

Lessig they don't represent us cover  

This is a ticketed event.
Pre-sale tickets (book included) on sale October 10.
General entrance tickets on sale October 24 at 9am.

This event includes a book signing.

Harvard Book Store and Harvard's Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics welcome renowned author and Harvard law professor LAWRENCE LESSIG for a discussion of his latest book, They Don't Represent Us: Reclaiming Our Democracy.

About They Don't Represent Us

America’s democracy is in crisis. Along many dimensions, a single flaw—unrepresentativeness—has detached our government from the people. And as a people, our fractured partisanship and ignorance on critical issues drives our leaders to stake out ever more extreme positions.

In They Don’t Represent Us, Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig charts the way in which the fundamental institutions of our democracy, including our media, respond to narrow interests rather than to the needs and wishes of the nation’s citizenry. But the blame does not only lie with “them”—Washington’s politicians and power brokers, Lessig argues. The problem is also “us.” “We the people” are increasingly uninformed about the issues, while ubiquitous political polling exacerbates the problem, reflecting and normalizing our ignorance and feeding it back into the system as representative of our will.

What we need, Lessig contends, is a series of reforms, from governmental institutions to the public itself, including:

—A move immediately to public campaign funding, leading to more representative candidates

—A reformed Electoral College, that gives the President a reason to represent America as a whole

—A federal standard to end partisan gerrymandering in the states A radically reformed Senate

—A federal penalty on states that don’t secure to their people an equal freedom to vote

—Institutions that empower the people to speak in an informed and deliberative way

A soul-searching and incisive examination of our failing political culture, this nonpartisan call to arms speaks to every citizen, offering a far-reaching platform for reform that could save our democracy and make it work for all of us.


The “Ethics in Your World” series, presented with Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, features leading thinkers taking on tough problems that matter to us all.