America’s Elect

by Henry Farrell on March 8, 2012

“Larry Lessig”: argues (disagreeing with Rick Hasen) that there’s nothing wrong with the anonymity of the people behind the _Americans Elect_ non-partisan third-party initiative.

bq. I’ve come around to support Americans Elect now, but only because I believe it could be a platform for a real reform candidate. If it doesn’t produce such a candidate, I won’t support supporting the candidate it produces. But in this spin, I have never been too worked up about “their transparency problem.” …When we hear that an anonymous contributor has given $10 million to a superPac supporting a particular candidate, we are and should be concerned about that contribution. But that’s because of two distinct, and independent reasons: We assume that even though we don’t know who the contributor is, the candidate will, AND We assume that the contributor’s contribution will lead the candidate to be responsive in ways that we won’t understand. If those two conditions are not met, however, our concern about anonymity should be different, and, in my view, much less significant. … What could the contributor be getting if the candidate couldn’t know who the contributor was? … If there is no plausible way in which the contributions would affect the work or the positions of the candidate, the cost of anonymity is different. … This second point is why I don’t think #AmericansElect has a “transparency problem.” I can’t begin to imagine how the identity of the contributors could possibly matter to the positions that any candidate would take on any of the issues. AE is building a platform to select candidates. They are promising a process to get access to the ballot in all fifty states. Whether a candidate is selected to be on that ballot depends upon his or her winning in the primary/caucus process. A candidate’s alignment with or against the substantive issues of one of the anonymous contributors isn’t going to affect that candidate’s ability to get nominated by AE at all.

[click to continue…]

Happy International Women’s Day!

by Ingrid Robeyns on March 8, 2012

Around 1996, when I had my first paid job in Leuven, and we were all still paying and being paid in francs, guldens, pesetas or deutschmark, I bought this wonderful piece of art from an emerging artist (she may actually still have been a student of art). As the picture shows, her name was Elke, and that’s all I remember, apart from the price (1.000 Belgian francs, which nowadays would be 25 Euros plus inflation). And I also recall that Elke was delighted that I bought her work. Elke, I hope you have made many more of these pieces of art, and that you allow me to reproduce this one here to celebrate International Women’s Day!