Last month I had the luck to listen to Muhammad Yunnus speak about leadership and change. His speech was full of inspiration and hope, his work showed that radical changes can start by questioning what we take for granted.’ Mr. Yunnus reported a dialogue with the director of a bank where he went to ask for them to start lending money to the poors. Quoting from “Banker to the poor”:
Yunnus: “But if you are certain that the money will be repaid, why do you need collateral?”
Bank director: “That is our bank rule.”
Y: “So only those who have collateral can borrow?”
Y: “It’s a silly rule. It means that only the rich can borrow.”
B: “I don’t make the rules, the bank does”
Y: “Well, I think the rules should be changed”.
And then he went on and created Grameen Bank, radically changing those rules.
I see in his logic the same kind of logic that lead Richard Stallman to start developing the GNU system.’ He knew the rules of copyright were being used to deprive computer programmers of freedom to learn and evolve software, so he changed them with copyleft.
The lesson I got from this is that if the rules seem broken then it’s time to fix them, even if everybody else takes them for granted.