Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Canada and Sweden (links all over)

Yesterday was Canada day. We went to see the fireworks. It also made me think of Canada, and Sweden, how things are in general in these countries.

I recently found this plot of the general values of different countries, the Inglehart-Welzel Cultural Map of the World:

I have seen similar maps before, and always Sweden is kind of extreme in one corner.

In the recent novel Shelter by Susan Palwick Sweden, Canada and the Netherlands are the first western countries to give citizenship to artificial intelligences. I assume these three countries have solid reputations of being liberal and progressive. If you only judge from distances on these maps there are several countries closer to Sweden i values than Canada, but from my own experience I would say the countries are fairly similar.

Right now I don't know what to think about my home country on the other side of the Atlantic. Things are so strange lately, I would never have guessed that we would get a law that allows surveillance of private communication. I'm disappointed. There are also strange discussions going on in the European Union about registration and regulation of blogs. And now, the last thing seems to be the possibility that we lose the right to remove our own samples from the tissue records that are kept for medical research (and there is talk about releasing the DNA information to the police...)

On a completely different note I found an interview with William Gibson where he talks about Canada, among other things:

Canada is set up to run on steady immigration. It feels like a twenty first century country to me because it's not interested in power. It negotiates and does business. It gets along with other countries. The power part is very nineteenth century. 99 percent of ideology we have today is very nineteenth century. The twentieth century was about technology, and the nineteenth was ideology.

I haven't lived long enough in Canada to say anything about the state of the country or about the national identity or anything, but I think it's interesting to hear what other's say.

My next post is going to be another interview, this time with Peggy Kolm from Biology in Science Fiction blog.

1 comment:

Elliot said...

While my political leanings are such that I admire countries like Sweden and Denmark, I am a bit leery of the heavy-handed bureaucracy that seems to be growing in the EU. And that Swedish surveillance law is worrying. I would have expected more uproar about civil liberties.

Also, the class I took this past year on the history of the Left in Canada made me realize that we're not nearly as progessive as we like to think we are. We do have an important progressive legacy, but the liberal-capitalist regime fought it every step of the way, and it's the neo-liberal/capitalists who are still in power.