Steve Wozniak helps crowdfund $5M for ‘America’s Operating System’

By Michael del Castillo,

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Inc. speaks during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, in February 2013. Yesterday he turned his attention to what he calls different kind of operating system, the way people elect their officials. Kiyoshi Ota / Bloomberg

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Inc. speaks during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, in February 2013. Yesterday he turned his attention to what he calls different kind of operating system, the way people elect their officials. Kiyoshi Ota / Bloomberg

Steve Wozniak designed Apple’s first-ever operating system for the Apple 1 computer in 1976, the bicentennial of America’s founding. Now the co-founder of Apple has turned his attention to another operating system closely related to that famous anniversary: the democratic process of the United States.

Yesterday, Apple’s co-founder lent his voice and image to a campaign called Mayday.US, organized by Harvard professor and tech luminary Laurence Lessig, to crowdfund $5 million to end what the two characterize as a disproportionate influence the wealthy have over the way political officials are elected.

“I like to think of democracy as America’s operating system,” Wozniak said in the video. “Right now, because of how money has completely taken over our political system America’s operating system is very broken.”

In 2010 the Supreme Court made two separate rulings that essentially legalized unlimited spending on political campaigns by making donations to Super PACs (Political Action Committees).

Wozniak’s friend, Lessig spoke at TED last year about what he described as two separate elections as a result of the law changes: the election in which aspiring politicians are given money necessary for their campaign by wealthy individuals, and the general election in which candidates spend that money to try to win votes.

“Larry’s idea is to fight fire with fire,” Wozniak said. “A crowdfunded, kickstarted Super PAC that can take on the system and elect politicians that have promised to end this critical flaw in America’s operating system.”

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