"information is the currency of democracy"

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Dec 22 04:49:39 UTC 2010

If Nader did craft the phrase then he may have fine-tuned an earlier
version of the expression that is given in this Washington Post
editorial. The term "power" occurs instead of "democracy" in this

Cite: 1969 August 29, The Washington Post, Editorial: The Currency of
Power, Page A22, Washington D.C. (ProQuest)

"Information, particularly timely information, is the currency of
power," says the report just issued by Ralph Nader and his associates
concerning the operation of the Freedom of Information Act.


On Tue, Dec 21, 2010 at 10:20 PM, geoffrey nunberg
<nunberg at ischool.berkeley.edu> wrote:
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> Poster:       geoffrey nunberg <nunberg at ISCHOOL.BERKELEY.EDU>
> Subject:      "information is the currency of democracy"
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> In connection with a course we're  teaching, my colleague Paul Duguid asked me about a sentence in a recent Guardian commentary on Wikilieaks by Ralph Nader:
>> Wasn't it Jefferson who said that "information is the currency of democracy" and that, given a choice between government and a free press, he'll take the latter?
>> http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/dec/16/julian-assange-wikileaks-eric-holder
> That sentence is attributed to Jefferson all over the web, but the earliest cite Paul been able to find for it is from a 12/31/71 NYT op-ed called "The Underachievements of Congress" by... wait for it.... Ralph Nader, where it's not attributed: "If information is the currency of democracy, it is time to apply that principle to the sinews of citizenship involvement with their representatives in Congress."
> Is this, as we suspect, one of those quotations that grew an eminent early progenitor late in the game? Or did Jefferson really say something like this?
> Geoff
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