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Free cultures

I liked Andrew Leonard’s online book on Free Software a lot, and learned from it. One entertaining feature is Leonard’s unabashed way of making broad cultural generalisations and analogues. Like “The Interner is like the bamboo, always finding a way around obstacles”. Maybe dandelions are similar. In the book Leonard also investigates the cultural and historical background that has made Finland something of a hotbed for new technology and open collaboration. He makes allusions to the past loremasters and Kalevala, the climate and the shared knowhow needed in order to weather the long winters. Interesting stuff, especially when brought together with ideas on the ethos of the welfare state.

Now Leonard is at it again, in his column “The samba and the sauna” , this time talking of Finland and Brazil. The story on Finland is the same, but in the case of Brazil free culture thrives on the hybrid, creole, mestizo “cultural cannibalism” that easily mixes and matches different cultures, styles and knowledges. Now, the funny thing is that Finland is the opposite of this: a monoculture like few others on the planet. Seems like there is no “one-size-fits-all” growing ground for open collaboration and free culture.

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