First Meeting

We'll get together to meet each other and see what direction members want to take the meetup.


This meetup is for people who are enthusiastic about capitalism as a system.

Libertarians, market-oriented Democrats, Republicans, and Independents are welcome.

This not a Tea-Party meetup.  We do not support "starve the beast" as a political strategy, and feel that should significant tax cuts come, it should be after we have been running a budget surplus for years, sufficient to pay down the national debt to less than 70% of GDP.  Tax increases should not be off the table.

This meetup is about economics and politics, but only politics that relate to economics.

Social and religious issues are off-topic unless they relate to economics.

Investment strategies may be discussed, but they are not the central theme of this meetup.

While the soul of this meetup is Libertarian, this is not a Libertarian Party meetup, partly because the US constitution usually dooms 3rd parties to obscurity, and partly because we want to be more pragmatic and less ideologically pure than the Libertarian Party.

Topics we would like to discuss:

  • Why did the mortgage meltdown happen -- was it "excessive deregulation", or was it "just a bubble bursting"?  If it was a bubble bursting, can regulation prevent bubbles?
  • Is it reasonable to expect people in government to be so much smarter than the market that they can accurately perceive bubbles and take corrective measures before the market has figured out that a bubble is happening?
  • Ben Bernanke says that the bond market currently overestimates the government's willingness to bail out a big bank in the future, and he says the government now has tools to wind down a large organization that didn't exist in 2008.  Should we believe him?
  • Some types of regulation are clearly bad.  What types of regulation are good?
  • Do we need banks that are big enough to pose systemic risk?  Or should we impose a "systemic risk tax" to penalize banks for being too big, so that they will voluntarily split themselves into smaller organizations?
  • Is growing inequality a problem if poverty is not increasing and median income is not declining?
  • Which is the worse sin: greed or envy?
  • Incumbents usually want stimulus, while the opposition usually screams bloody murder about the deficit.  Should we opt for more stimulus now, or austerity, or are we currently making the right trade off?
  • You may love or hate Obamacare, but everyone agrees it won't do anything to contain our country's rampant medical inflation.  What should be done to address this problem?
  • Economic Liberals, like those who run the Tenement Museum on the LES, often point to conditions in the 19th century and claim "that is where unbridled capitalism would take us".  How did people's living conditions in the 19th century compare to their living standards before that?  Do we owe our improved standard of living to politicians, union organizers, and regulators, as these people would claim, or to the inventors and industrials who made dramatic increases in productivity possible?
  • Dodd-Frank: pros and cons?
  • The cost of college has been increasing much faster than inflation.  The "US New and World Report"'s annual ranking of colleges actually rewards schools for spending more money per pupil.  Many students are graduating so far in debt they are unlikely be debt-free before they are 30.  This whole problem undermines social mobility.  Why is this happening and what can be done about it?
  • China's gradual adoption of market reforms after the death of Mao and the discrediting of the Soviet economic model around 1990 have made market economics the only game in town.  This has brought a flood of good news from economies that 20 years ago were deemed hopeless.  Living standards in China and India have increased dramatically, and over half of Africans currently own mobile phones.

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  • Anatoliy

    What about next Sunday?

    April 16, 2013

  • Darren

    Thanks for participating everyone. I really enjoyed the meetup.
    To tell the truth, I don't know if I'm a fan of capitolism, but I respect everyone's opionion and I enjoyed hearing the different points of view. What I think was the most informative to me is that I learned there are no answeres, really. Everyone has an opinion...take for example the Walmart situation. Whose to know what is best. I found scenerio complex and I really didn't know what the anwere was.
    I do agree that it is inappropriate for some people to show up and be so argumentative when they are obviously not in agreement to the premise and undlying ideology of the meetup group.

    Personally, I have thought about it and I am not really a fascist. I think me saying so was just an expression of anger and malcontent with the country. I must admit that I feel jaded with this country in terms of the fact that I think it really hasn't been good for me. I have played by society's rules and can't get a job.

    April 15, 2013

    • Leon K.

      *Phew* that's a relief.

      April 15, 2013

    • Dorothy K.

      Good to know!!

      April 15, 2013

  • Anatoliy

    I think it was very intresting

    1 · April 14, 2013

  • Dorothy K.

    It got the blood circulating.

    April 14, 2013

  • Bill

    Well, we've had our first meeting. One thing I've decided is we will have at least an hour of assigned reading for the next meeting, so that it will focus the conversation better.

    Those of you who were there, please feel free to send me your feedback of suggestions for what we should do going forward.

    April 14, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Won't be able to make it after all.

    April 13, 2013

  • Bill

    I wrote up an article on the definition of capitalism, which will be discussed at the first event.

    http://www.meetup.com/Fans-of-Capitalism/messages/boards/thread/33430382/

    April 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    schedule conflict; see main discussion thread

    April 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I have a schedule conflict for 4/14 and will be iffy in May and June 9I'ver got a meetup group that;'s reading Ulysses together with plans to finish by 6/16 - Bloomsday! But I did want to chime in on the 4/414 agenda Bill set; thoughts as to a direction for the meetup.

    I love the list of sample discussion topics Bill posted and would happy, over time, to cover any or all of them as well as similar ones that are proposed by Bill and/or others., Also, I very much appreciate and support Bill's having expressed hopes that the group avoid Libertarian dogma (or any other dogma for that matter). The one thing I'd want to add is that while general conversation, announcements, etc. are necessarily going to be part of the package any time any group of people get together (friendliness is always a plus for any group!), I would hope that meaningful time is allocated for on-topic discussion.

    See you in July (or earlier depending on how the Ulysses group schedule plays out).

    April 11, 2013

  • Bill

    April 7, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I doubt that I can make this meeting.

    April 6, 2013

  • Bill

    One thing that is open to suggestion is our venue. I chose Midtown Diner because
    - It is quiet enough that a group of 20 people can hear each other and share a common conversion
    - They do separate checks
    - They are in Manhattan
    - They are wheelchair-accessible
    - The food is reasonably good and not excessively expensive
    If anyone suggests another place that meets all these criteria, I'll be interested in checking it out.

    March 19, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I think it's a terrific venue. In addition to being in Manhattan, it's centrally located near a lot of mass transit. I had recommended it to other meetups.

      March 19, 2013

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