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Gateway Problems

Page history last edited by spencer.graves@prodsyse.com 8 years, 3 months ago




Gateway Problems

in US

Politics & Economics


     The increase in inequality in incomes in the US over the past 40 years has cost the median American family $38,000 per year, over $100 per day, from the money they would be receiving today if the economic growth during that period had been broadly shared, as it was in the immediate post-World War II period. There are many contributors to this $38,000 per year in lost income, but virtually all of these contributors can be traced to the willingness and ability of the commercial media to paint the black white and the white black -- and the failure of the public to seek out and fund substantive investigative journalism.1

     Lawerence Lessig's recent book, Republic, Lost, provides a very insightful analysis of the major problems facing the US today. Lessig, a leading constitutional scholar currently at Harvard, argues that campaign finance is the "Gateway" problem in the sense that we are not likely to make progress on other major problem without solving that first.

     Another possible Gateway problem is the structure of the commercial media in the US: The media have demonstrated an ability to paint the black white and the white black, denigrating serious research when it conflicts with the perceived interests of major executives in big businesses. Business executives don't like feeding the mouth that bites them and have been known to stop advertising with media organizations that provide too much exposure to practices that threaten the well-being of the public. The argument for making the media the Gateway problem is the belief that campaign finance would not be an issue if the public developed a voracious appetite for (a) substantive investigative journalism, (b) vigorous but amiable political discourse, and (c) high quality research to clarify issues and options.

     Progress against virtually any other problem we might name will likely be blocked until one or both of these Gateway problems is adequately addressed.


Spencer's Recommendations for Occupy San José


     I recommend that whatever other issues Occupy San José chooses to push, two of the top issues should be (a) campaign finance and (b) improving the media consumed by the public.

     I further recommend that separate pages be created on "occupy.pbworks.com" for each issue of concern to people in OSJ. These pages can be edited by different people to express the consensus and diversity of perspectives in the group and to cite appropriate references. Any research that we cite should also be cited in related Wikipedia article(s), because Wikipedia has a well-earned reputation with a large following. Indeed, our biggest impact may be via Wikipedia.




1Spencer Graves (2012) "Media and Politics" (http://occupy.pbworks.com/w/page/51429142/Media%20and%20Politics, accessed 2012-03-23).    



Comments (1)

Darnoc Backwards said

at 8:56 pm on Mar 23, 2012


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