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Contents of issue No 9, June 1998

                                       

A shift from ‘production-driven’ approach to ‘market-driven’ thinking sets rules for international business communication. Global brand identities dominate while national symbols are confined to sparking emotions in popular entertainment and sports. This change has deep implications for cultural interaction as well. Some of them have been discussed recently in meetings organised by the Finnish Institute.

When the global brand values become your values, we are well on our way from flags to logos. Maybe some of us will live long enough to take their grandchildren to ethnographic museums to see historical national flags from 20th century. It would make a nice colourful display.

  • The Finnishness of 1848 – does it need "rebranding"? Editorial by Henrik Stenius

    The Finnish national anthem is 150 years old. In many historians' view it is amazing how immediately the song -- in the Finnish translation as well as in the original Swedish version -- was accepted as an anthem, thus negating the Hegelian principle that if there is a nation it has to be created upon one language.

"It's not that we don't know what's going on in the music scene outside Finland. Of course you'll see the same international names cropping up on the record lists in Finland as in most other places.  It's just that iskelmä (a hit song) is so much part of the Finnish mainstream and has such unique staying power that it simply defines a certain kind of Finnishness." (Ilpo Hakasalo, broadcaster and writer)

This Wolverhampton band started a chain reaction in my life. At twelve, I started to learn English with a self-study course on the radio, a year before starting English at school. For the first time I was also consciously wanting to know more and more about a culture not my own. By the time I was eighteen in that quiet little town, there was a piece of foreign land in my Finland.

Basic concepts like person, village and culture are loaded with different meanings in Finnish and British cultures.

Modern society needs less and less paid work but keeps nurturing the belief that people need paid work for their well-being and dignity. This is how some social critics sum up the central problem of our times. Their complaint is that any job, however menial and boring, is seen to carry basic values of life, inherited from past generations. This article anticipates a seminar on the "Future of Work" in autumn 1998. The models suggested for discussion are:

- Citizen's Income model
- 6+6 hour model
- A social welfare state which encourages job creation

Archbishop of Finland supports Citizen’s Income

Citizen's Income would send every citizen the following message: "You are important, you are not a burden, but a resource. You are important by being a human being for others. Whatever work you do, in whatever situations, whether or not you are paid to do it, you still contribute to building our society."

In the belief that harmonisation may be better achieved bottom up than top down and conscious of the value of starting the process with like-minded colleagues, because both sickness and medical practice have large cultural components, a small group of British and Finnish medical academics and students met to discuss how we might work together.