What we're about

Active Thinkers

1. Introduction

• Active Thinkers is a meetup where we explore questions around a topic, then have a friendly discussion. Topics themselves vary, depending upon our imagination and what seems interesting at the time. Topics may range from social to political, to technical, to scientific, to historical … and so on. Generally each particular meeting will be fairly focused in the form of a seminar among equals. Sometimes the discussion might be more free-wheeling. This group also has a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1668079356593059/

• The general rules of the game are that whoever turns up works together on a given topic.

• A topic and about 10 focus questions will be published before the meetup. Feel free to contribute other focus questions around the topic too. Focus questions are not intended to push one viewpoint! You can adopt any position you wish. We actually like friendly disagreement - it can lead to deeper understanding. Note: clearly not all of these questions can be properly covered in a meetup, but they give us a conscious choice about what to talk about while making the background context clearer. It is up to the people who come on the day to choose what aspects they would like to deal with.

• Discussion groups like this work best if people can add more than casual prejudice and opinion. Expertise is especially welcome. If you at least do a Google search on the topic before you turn up, then everyone gains.

• If you want to suggest a future Active Thinkers topic, try to think of some focus questions to go with it too. Inventing focus questions clears the mind wonderfully.

2. Time and Venue

Active Thinkers at the moment is meeting in the Cafe Brunelli, Rundle St, Adelaide CBD. Saturday 3-5 pm or Sunday 4-6 pm are when Cafe Brunelli has fewest customers, so DX8 can have the most people without pressure to leave.

• If there is more than one Active Thinkers meetup in a fortnight, they will all have a common topic and a common set of focus questions. Anyone who wishes to organize other meetups for the same topic (Podkeepers for a Pods) should contact the meetup.com organizer, Thor (the 'Ringmaster'). The only condition for extra Pods is that the Podkeeper for each pod should forward the Ringmaster, Thor, $2 for each person attending the Pod. This is necessary because every six months Thor has to pay meetup.com in New York about AUD$160 for use of the website ($ depends upon the exchange rate). Payment can be made using Pay ID which is available on every Australian bank's phone app. Just enter Thor's phone number: 0479 154 831.

3. Resources

A couple of American websites have recently emerged with a torrent of interesting topics, though typically oriented of course to American culture. Don’t just echo their questions, but they may give you a lead on the kinds of things many people find interesting:

a) Quora http://quora.com (This website can become addictive)

b) Change-my-view https://www.reddit.com/r/changemyview/

c) A list of sites similar to Quora.com http://alternativeto.net/software/quora/

d) A list of software that might be adapted to something like Quora.com http://alternativeto.net/software/coordino/

4. Contact:

The organizer of Active Thinkers is Thor May; thormay@yahoo.com, tel. 0479 154 831

He has published a lot of essays and papers at https://independent.academia.edu/ThorMay . If you need to find Thor at a venue, here is a link to his photo: http://thormay.net/image/Thor5january2015b-captioned.jpg (http://thormay.net/image/Thor5january2015b-captioned.jpg%C2%A0)

Thor has run other meetups built around questions and discussions. An index of all the topics covered by these is online at http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/DiscussionTopics/DiscussionIndex.htm

Upcoming events (4+)

Does Debt Matter?

Cafe Brunelli

A$2.00

FOCUS QUESTIONS

1, Does it bother you to owe money? Why? How much personal debt is troublesome? What kind of debt (if any) do you find OK? For example, some people don't ever save, but have every luxury (cars, phones etc) which they pay week to week at high interest, then lose if they happen to lose a job etc. ... next job and the cycle repeats.

2. Is it worth taking on large, long term debt (a mortgage) to buy a house? What about paying rent and investing in shares instead?

3. What part does "the bank of mum and dad", or an extended family, play in setting up young adults in a home, or even in business? How does this vary amongst different ethnic groups? Is this kind of financing considered a debt by those who benefit?

4. How many people actually borrow money (or something else) for a short time from friends or other people? What is your feeling about this kind of borrowing? What are the dangers of having personal debts like this?

5. How should people who can't or won't repay debts be treated? In 19th Century England, people would even die in debtors' prisons. We don't have debtors' prisons now. Magistrates generally order unemployed or poor debtors (for example) to repay a few dollars a week, but many don't.

6. What are some reasons that so many small businesses fail? Estimates are that one in three new small businesses in Australia fail in their first year of operation, two out of four by the end of the second year, and three out of four by the fifth year.

7. How exactly is government debt different to personal debt? Does the word "debt" even mean the same in these different contexts? (hint: google "Modern monetary theory Vs monetarist economics")

8. Why does the United States Federal Government debt have a different importance to the debt of any other country? How stable is this situation?

9. Does deficit or surplus matter in the Federal budget? Since federation in 1901, the Australian budget has been in deficit at least half the time (https://www.newealth.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/2019-04-12-JBWere-Federal-Goverment-Budget-Deficits.pdf )

10. Governments around the world have had to borrow or create enormous amounts of money to keep countries afloat during the Covid crisis (e.g. Jobkeeper in Australia). What will be the consequences of this huge new debt overhang?

Active Thinkers may occur in more than one meetup - Pod1, Pod2 etc

Cafe Brunelli

A$2.00

Topic & Focus questions - Announced two weeks before the meetup in Pod1 meetup for all the meetups in the following fortnight

Active Thinkers may occur in more than one meetup - Pod1, Pod2 etc

Cafe Brunelli

A$2.00

Topic & Focus questions - Announced two weeks before the meetup in Pod1 meetup for all the meetups in the following fortnight

Active Thinkers may occur in more than one meetup - Pod1, Pod2 etc

Topic & Focus questions - Announced two weeks before the meetup in Pod1 meetup for all the meetups in the following fortnight

Past events (157)

When Does Free Mean Selfish?

Cafe Brunelli

A$2.00

Photos (146)

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