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Hong Kong's Junto events (based on Ben Franklin's idea)

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Hong Kong's Junto events (based on Ben Franklin's idea)


The original Junto was a club established in 1727 by Benjamin Franklin for mutual improvement in Philadelphia. Also known as the Leather Apron Club, its purpose was to debate questions of morals, politics, and natural philosophy, and to exchange knowledge of business affairs.


Franklin organized a group of friends to provide a structured forum for discussion about money. The group, initially composed of twelve members, called itself the Junto (the word is a mistaken use of the masculine singular Spanish adjective "joined", mistaken for the feminine singular noun "junta", "a meeting". Both derive from Latin "iunct-", past participle of "iungere", "to join"). The members of the Junto were drawn from diverse occupations and backgrounds, but they all shared a spirit of inquiry and a desire to improve themselves, their community, and to help others. Among the original members were printers, surveyors, a cabinetmaker, a clerk, and a bartender. Although most of the members were older than Franklin, he was clearly their leader.




Modern-day Juntos


There are several modern-day Juntos modeled on Franklin's original meeting operating today. Hedge fund manager Victor Niederhoffer has been running the New York City Junto since 1985. Meeting monthly, the New York Junto focuses on libertarianism, Objectivism (the philosophy of Ayn Rand), and investing.


Nicholas Vardy has been running the London Junto since 2005. The London Junto meets monthly in the heart of London's hedge-fund community at the Lansdowne Club, where Franklin signed the Treaty of Paris with Lord Shelburne. It attracts some of the leading global investment minds of today, engaging them in critical, Socratic-style discussions.


P'unk Avenue hosts a monthly Junto in their studio in Philadelphia, where the Junto originated.[1]


Pittsburgh has had a Junta patterned after Franklin's concept since the 1870s. It currently has about 30 members who meet every three weeks, wear tuxedos, and listen to a few members on an assigned topic. The topics are wide-ranging.


The Indianapolis Junto meets sporadically to discuss the finer points of asset-based community development.


The University of Massachusetts Amherst is developing a Junto.


The Junto of the Medical College of Virginia is a secret society that meets monthly to actively assist the MCV community in recognizing its rich cultural and historical heritage, to discuss original topics reflecting those ideals proposed by Benjamin Franklin himself, and to bolster and encourage the Renaissance Men of the organization to become more enlightened doctors.

An entrepreneurial development group called Junto Partners is operated out of Salt Lake City, UT. The group bases many of its ideals on the original Junto. Each summer a prominent businessman gathers twenty aspiring entrepreneurs and debates the tactical and practical aspects of business venture creation. At the end of the program, five participants are selected and given seed money opportunities to start a new venture. Through this program over 25 businesses have been started, with many of them net well of $100,000 annually.


(from the Wiki entry, the 2009 date is obviously late to me):


The Hong Kong Junto was established in 2009 comprising a diverse group of the business community including lawyers, bankers, investors, authors and entrepreneurs. The Hong Kong Junto meets every month, usually in Central, with one of its members chairing the evening during which one of Franklin's original questions is asked and answered by all present, along with one other question that is the discretion of the member hosting.




DISCUSSION TOPIC of the DEC. 2008 Junto MEETING in HK...


The recent evolution of the US / China economic relationship


"Paulson is currently meeting with Chinese officials. I am no expert on the matter, but it sounds like the tables have turned a bit. As I understand it, in the past, it was primarily Paulson who took the high economic ground. Acting as big brother, he would use meetings to lecture China on what they needed to do to become a developed/efficient/stable economy. He would regularly instruct them to quit manipulating their currency for the betterment of their export sector and at the cost of their domestic consumption (and thus having the opposite impacts in the US).


This week, however, reporters are saying that China was the one lecturing Paulson on how to stabilize their economy and rebalance it—even going so far as to say that the US needed to reduce its foreign trade deficit! It was just months before that Paulson was saying that Chinese policy was largely responsible for that deficit! I’m not sure how much of this is just journalists making a story, and how much is real change, but I would like to hear others thoughts (not now—we all have enough emails to deal with—but in our discussion next week). Moreover, this discussion could be a good natural catalyst for other big global political-economic issues."


= = = = =


Junto Clubs, on Wikipedia ...... :: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junto_(club)

Junto, on Wikipedia ............ :: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junto#Modern-day_Juntos

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The Junto's Friday evening meetings were organized around a series of questions that Franklin devised, covering a range of intellectual, personal, business, and community topics. These questions were used as a springboard for discussion and community action. In fact, through the Junto, Franklin promoted such concepts as volunteer fire-fighting clubs, improved security (night watchmen), and a public hospital.


This is the list of questions Franklin devised to guide the discussions at Junto meetings (from Franklin's papers, dated 1728, and included in some editions of his autobiography):


1. Have you met with any thing in the author you last read, remarkable, or suitable to be communicated to the Junto? particularly in history, morality, poetry, physics, travels, mechanic arts, or other parts of knowledge?

2. What new story have you lately heard agreeable for telling in conversation?

3. Hath any citizen in your knowledge failed in his business lately, and what have you heard of the cause?

4. Have you lately heard of any citizen’s thriving well, and by what means?

5. Have you lately heard how any present rich man, here or elsewhere, got his estate?


6. Do you know of any fellow citizen, who has lately done a worthy action, deserving praise and imitation? or who has committed an error proper for us to be warned against and avoid?

7. What unhappy effects of intemperance have you lately observed or heard? of imprudence? of passion? or of any other vice or folly?

8. What happy effects of temperance? of prudence? of moderation? or of any other virtue?

9. Have you or any of your acquaintance been lately sick or wounded? If so, what remedies were used, and what were their effects?

10. Who do you know that are shortly going [on] voyages or journeys, if one should have occasion to send by them?


11. Do you think of any thing at present, in which the Junto may be serviceable to mankind? to their country, to their friends, or to themselves?

12. Hath any deserving stranger arrived in town since last meeting, that you heard of? and what have you heard or observed of his character or merits? and whether think you, it lies in the power of the Junto to oblige him, or encourage him as he deserves?

13. Do you know of any deserving young beginner lately set up, whom it lies in the power of the Junto any way to encourage?

14. Have you lately observed any defect in the laws, of which it would be proper to move the legislature an amendment? Or do you know of any beneficial law that is wanting?


15. Have you lately observed any encroachment on the just liberties of the people?

16. Hath any body attacked your reputation lately? and what can the Junto do towards securing it?

17. Is there any man whose friendship you want, and which the Junto, or any of them, can procure for you?

18. Have you lately heard any member’s character attacked, and how have you defended it?

19. Hath any man injured you, from whom it is in the power of the Junto to procure redress?

20. In what manner can the Junto, or any of them, assist you in any of your honourable designs?


21. Have you any weighty affair in hand, in which you think the advice of the Junto may be of service?

22. What benefits have you lately received from any man not present?

23. Is there any difficulty in matters of opinion, of justice, and injustice, which you would gladly have discussed at this time?

24. Do you see any thing amiss in the present customs or proceedings of the Junto, which might be amended?

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ARTICLES - links to various articles of mine


(note: I was requested to provide this list at an early Junto meeting)


(Carried on Financial Sense):


12/03/08 : Making Mass Transit Work, Part 1



10/14/08 : Rebuilding US wealth, means we must Stop Digging!



09/09/08 : Paulson to China: "We need to do this.."



06/05/08 : Fighting the Fear



01/07/08 : Restructuring America's Suburban Dream



07/05/07 : The Rich Feast in London has Left a Property Bubble in its Wake



05/22/07 : Ending a Century of Oil Addiction



11/09/06 : The China Trigger



10/03/05 : The Lessons of Grandparents



08/17/05 : Savings Replaced by Reliance on House Price Inflation



05/16/05 : Unwinding the Carry Trade



/FSU: http://www.financialsense.com/fsu/contributors.html#hampton


NOTE: If you are unfamiliar with my writings, I suggest starting with :


01/07/08 : Restructuring America's Suburban Dream


- or -

10/03/05 : The Lessons of Grandparents







"America Has Huge Holes In Its Pockets"

08/24/2011 - Part 1 : http://www.financialsense.com/contributors/dr-bubb/2011/08/24/america-has-huge-holes-in-its-pockets

08/31/2011 - Part 2 : http://www.financialsense.com/contributors/dr-bubb/2011/08/31/america-has-huge-holes-in-its-pockets-part-2


07/08/2010 : Chinese Remedies Will Not Save the Ailing American Dream


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Taleb's "Capitalism 2"- a topic for a future event maybe?



Compared with 1929...

(he says):

"I think it (the unfolding crisis) is going to happen alot more quickly, and be alot worse."



Longer Segment:

+ Capitalism 1 allowed people to game the system:

Take huge risks that looked small, to gain big rewards.


+ Markets are stupid. We should not rely on them


+ Hedge funds still have alot to sell




(near the end of the interview):


CAPITALISM 2 - will bring less reliance on asset values


+ Banks will be like utilities

+ People will back to real work, not speculative activities

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At our last meeting we discussed briefly how the economic relationship between the US and China was developing.



Source: FS Article: "Lessons of Our Grandparents"


M H provided a visual depiction (see above) of how the previous system boiled down to the US borrowing from abroad in order to boost its own consumption, particularly that of products made abroad (namely, China). In the process, trade, credit and housing markets developed bubbles. What we are left with today is the painful process of correcting and rebalancing.


We then began to address the question of whether the US government was “bust” or not. Some argued that it was, in the sense that the US government indebtedness was about to go from bad to worse, with an increase in expenditures and a decrease in revenues. And that the US was destined to have to turn to the Fed to “close the gap” with freshly printed US dollars (with the risk being hyperinflation and the loss of the US$’s position as the dominant reserve currency of the world).


Others argued that the US government would be able to work through its financial problems, thanks to its ability to tap the resources of a diverse, relatively well educated, inventive, hard-working population and business system. Others argued that perhaps the US as a population, armed with all of its strengths, would find a way to work through the current financial (and other) problems; but that the US government was in a for a more brutal awakening and forced reform. To the extent that this forced reform would come relatively smoothly or very painful, perhaps even violent, was left undetermined—but the risk of the latter was mentioned.


And then we were introduced to perhaps the most interesting alternative strategy for how the US government might be able to boost its income to better fund its rising expenditures: It was proposed that the US government should use its ability to borrow cheaply to then invest in high yielding assets abroad, such as in the emerging markets. In other words, the US government should act in the best interests of its population by investing wisely—the returns of which could go toward reducing the deficit or even reducing taxes. One opposing argument was that it was simply politically impossible for the US government to risk US taxpayers’ capital to invest overseas. Another opposing argument was that the US government (today’s “risk-free borrower”) would lose its ability to borrow cheaply if it started investing in risky assets around the world. In other words, if it started acting like an investment bank, it was going to have borrowing costs closer to that of an investment bank and/or the same sort of problems that investment banks today are having. The last couple of years have shown that borrowing at low-risk rates to invest in high-risk assets was in fact to be too good to be true.


The conversation went on a few (worthwhile) tangents—with perhaps the largest being about healthcare. Everyone agreed that the US healthcare system needed to be reformed. Some (most) argued that it needed to be reformed in the direction of more government involvement (e.g., “nationalized healthcare”). Others argued that it was government that was responsible for the running up of costs; that more government involvement would only move the costs around and would reduce the level of quality, as well as choice, of care (i.e., the third and fourth party involvement in healthcare need to be reduced, not increased).


The healthcare discussion evolved into a discussion about how much a country’s government should provide as a “minimum level of living standards”. Some argued that as a country developed and became richer, it should adjust the “minimum” accordingly. In other words, Zimbabwe’s government should not be expected to provide the same level of “minimum” healthcare, water quality, education, food, clothing, transportation, parks, etc….


This then sparked a discussion about the fundamental stances of Libertarianism. Some wondered if it was a cold, every-man-for-himself, approach. Others responded that Libertarians do not prescribe that everyone should refrain from helping others; they just argue that: a) charity and cooperation is more productive (and less prone to corruption and ulterior motives) when executed by individuals and private organizations of individuals, rather than government; and B) that aside, forced charity is morally wrong, while voluntary charity is not only moral but personally rewarding (paying taxes feels less rewarding to most than giving to a charity of choice).


I think that covers most of the major points. Feel free to add to this, if you think I have missed or accidentally distorted a major point.

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...we were introduced to perhaps the most interesting alternative strategy for how the US government might be able to boost its income to better fund its rising expenditures: It was proposed that the US government should use its ability to borrow cheaply to then invest in high yielding assets abroad, such as in the emerging markets. In other words, the US government should act in the best interests of its population by investing wisely—the returns of which could go toward reducing the deficit or even reducing taxes.


I still think the suggestion was meant tongue-in-cheek.


Peter Schiff here gives some reasons why we should not look to Congress to invest on our behalf

Next - A Decade Of Frugality *AUDIO*


Americans are stone broke and the ramifications are stark.

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HOW LONG can this go on?:


"China held 652.9 billion dollars of US Treasury bonds at the end of October, up 11.2 percent from 587 billion dollars a month earlier, when China became the largest creditor ahead of Japan, according to the data released Tuesday."


China warns: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081217/bs_af...omychinausbonds


... in the face of this ...?


"Stimulus aimed at perpetuating mass motoring will be a tragic waste of our dwindling resources. We’d be better off aiming it at fixing the railroads (especially electrifying them), refitting our harbors with piers and warehouses in preparation to move more stuff by boats, and in repairing the electric grid. Unfortunately, our tendency will be to try to rescue the totemic touchstones of everyday life, things familiar and comfortable, regardless of whether they have a future or not.


The ominous forces gathering out there will defeat these efforts and everyday life will reorganize itself some other way consistent with the single greatest trend: the force of contraction. Every sign we see is pointing in that direction, from the inability of the earth’s ecology to support more human beings, to the dwindling of mineral and energy resources, to the destruction of farmland, to mischief in the climate. We just don’t know how badly things will fall apart in the meantime, or how kind (or cruelly) people will act in the process.


Mr. Obama would be most successful if he could persuade the public how much more severe the required changes are than they currently realize, and inspire them to get with program of retrofitting American life to comply with these realities."


/more: http://www.whiskeyandgunpowder.com/change-...ney-and-strife/



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  • 5 weeks later...

KOWLOON - Alternative Location to Central

Map to The Long Beach, near Olympic Station (Tai Kok Tsui)

- Olympic Station is on the Tung Chung Line, just 2 stops from Hong Kong Station.





Bus schedule (#971, from HK Island):




(Obviously, you need to be invited to attend this event, and know when it is happening.

The group meets at various locations, and this is only one of them.)

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  • 3 years later...

(this was a great image of BF - that I added to the OP/Header)



Benjamin Franklin / (this introduces him to teenagers, I suppose):


"I think opinions should be judged by their influences and effects; and if a man holds none that tend to make him less virtuous or more vicious, it may be concluded that he holds none that are dangerous, which I hope is the case with me."


"Remember that time is money."


Benjamin Franklin was a printer, author, scientist, musician, inventor, diplomat, ladies' man, revolutionary, and one of the coolest and most fascinating people in American History. Managed to make it onto the US hundred dollar bill without being President. Invented bifocal lenses, the Franklin stove, and the lightning rod, after proving that lightning was just electricity, not the wrath of an angry god. If you ever take a tour anywhere in Philadelphia's historical district, you will learn that he invented pretty much everything. Even The Internet.

But he was not a President. And he did not write the Declaration of Independence (although he did edit it). And he didn't found the Ben Franklin dime store chain.


/more: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Creator/BenjaminFranklin

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