What we're about

This is a group for those interested in intellectual conversation, learning and sharing. Topics might include scientific, social and political issues. Each meetup will focus on one topic, with everybody in the group given the opportunity to express their opinion in an informal, supportive environment. This meetup welcomes gentle, open-minded, generous folk who love rational thinking. We value rationality, compassion, generosity, curiosity, diversity and community-mindedness.

The philosophy of the group is inspired by Bertrand Russell in his essay “The best answer to fanaticism: Liberalism”:
1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
2. Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavour to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.
5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent that in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool's paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.

Upcoming events (3)

The trouble with Elon - Small group discussion

State Library of Queensland

*** Note, this is a small group discussion (old Gentle Thinkers style) in the State Library of Queensland meeting rooms, not Brisbane Square Library ***

Elon Musk is a successful and controversial figure. He is one of the richest men in the world but the stock price of Tesla has fallen over 70% since its high in November 2021.

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/12/27/teslas-stock-is-headed-for-its-worst-month-quarter-year-on-record.html

Musk has grown several companies including Zip2, X.com which merged with what became PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX and so on.

https://www.businessinsider.com/the-rise-of-elon-musk-2016-7
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PU7QM3MZ2Vs

His recent acquisition and leadership of Twitter has been contentious and his popularity in San Francisco seems to be falling.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-12-13/elon-musk-booed-dave-chappelle-san-francisco/101765004

Is Musk an icon of American/Western values supporting free speech and the work ethic at the same time as saving the environment and pushing the boundaries on space exploration?

Or, is he a wealthy businessman, manipulating markets, exploiting the worker and lining his own pockets with government EV subsidies and carbon credits?

https://www.carsales.com.au/editorial/details/fbt-exemption-for-evs-a-game-changer-for-consumers-138149/

Or, is the truth somewhere in between?

In this small group discussion we will consider what we can learn from this controversial figure.

After the discussion, we will head down to the Edge cafe for less formal discussion.

If you are able, please bring a gold coin donation to cover the cost of Meetup.com fees.

2
Are We Heading Towards A Deglobalised World?

Brisbane Square Library

This event is held in the theatrette on the ground floor of the Brisbane city library. The event is followed by drinks at Jimmy's on the Mall.

We have lived our entire lives in a world that has been globalizing. It has been a consistent background to our lives that we don’t really understand that globalization as we have experienced it, is a historic anomaly. For some years now various intellectuals and analysts have been warning that globalization may be reversing, and we have started hearing terms like deglobalization, decoupling, onshoring, and reshoring in our media.

In this presentation, Christian will take you through a brief history of globalization to describe how we got to this moment and why it happened. He will then go through all the mechanisms by which we (8 billion of us) are smashing apart the globalized system of which we have been part. He will then try out a crystal ball and make some wild predictions as to what may happen next. This is all open to critique and debate.

Chokepoint Capitalism (Avid Reader event)

Avid Reader

This is an external event by Avid Reader, please get your own ticket here: https://avidreader.com.au/pages/6834-ChokepointCapitalism-RebeccaGiblinandCoryDoctorow

'Chokepoint Capitalism tells us how the vampires crashed the party, and provides protective garlic.’ Margaret Atwood

A call to action for the creative class and labour movement to rally against the power of Big Tech and Big Media

Corporate concentration has breached the stratosphere, as have corporate profits. An ever-expanding constellation of industries are now monopolies (where sellers have excessive power over buyers) or monopsonies (where buyers hold the whip hand over sellers) — or both.

In Chokepoint Capitalism, scholar Rebecca Giblin and writer and activist Cory Doctorow argue we’re in a new era of ‘chokepoint capitalism’, with exploitative businesses creating insurmountable barriers to competition that enable them to capture value that should rightfully go to others. All workers are weakened by this, but the problem is especially well illustrated by the plight of creative workers.

By analysing book publishing and news, live music and music streaming, screenwriting, radio, and more, Giblin and Doctorow deftly show how powerful corporations construct ‘anti-competitive flywheels’ designed to lock in users and suppliers, make their markets hostile to new entrants, and then force workers and suppliers to accept unfairly low prices.
In the book’s second half, Giblin and Doctorow explain how to batter through those chokepoints, with tools ranging from transparency rights to collective action and ownership, radical interoperability, contract terminations, job guarantees, and minimum wages for creative work.

Chokepoint Capitalism is a call to workers of all sectors to unite to help smash these chokepoints and take back the power and profit that’s being heisted away — before it’s too late.

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
Rebecca Giblin is an ARC Future Fellow and professor at Melbourne Law School, where she leads interdisciplinary teams researching issues around creators’ rights, access to knowledge, and the regulation of technology and culture. She is director of the Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia (IPRIA), and heads up the Author’s Interest and eLending projects (authorsinterest.org; elendingproject.org), as well as Untapped: the Australian Literary Heritage Project (untapped.org.au). Chokepoint Capitalism is her latest book. She also wrote Code Wars and co-edited What if we could reimagine copyright?. Follow her on Twitter (@rgibli)

Cory Doctorow is a bestselling science fiction writer and activist. He is a special adviser to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, with whom he has worked for 20 years. He is also a visiting professor of computer science at the Open University (UK) and of library science at the University of North Carolina. He is also a MIT Media Lab research affiliate. He co-founded the UK Open Rights Group and co-owns the website Boing Boing. He is the author of more than 20 books, including novels for adults and young adults, graphic novels for middle-grade readers, picture books, nonfiction books on technology and politics, and collections of essays. Follow him on Twitter (@doctorow).

Past events (510)

Christmas Breakfast at Jimmy’s on the Mall

Jimmy's On The Mall