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By Nathan Tankus, a student and research assistant at the University of Ottawa. You can follow him on Twitter at @NathanTankus (https://twitter.com/NathanTankus).
If you’re reading this you probably already know a lot about Naked Capitalism. What you may not know is the crucial role it plays in a subculture I’m involved in–that of Heterodox Economics. Yves has provided an outlet for scholars with ideas threatening to power to spread their views beyond their own narrow circles. Additionally (and more personally) she has given outlets to students of these areas, like Philip Pilkington and myself, to write about what catches our interest, often using the lens we have acquired from Heterodoxy. I can guarantee you that there is no other platform on the planet that would have given me as much free rein to write what I want as Naked Capitalism. Just in the last six months I’ve written on such varied topics as the 1930s gunshot marriage of New York City and its subways, multiple posts on Paul Krugman, and the persistent attacks on New York City Libraries, among many others.
By providing people like me an outlet to write for, Yves gives us exposure that is often severely lacking for economists who pursue research interests that most departments won’t support (in other words, interesting and useful ones). There is a long history stretching back to the McCarthy era of those with alternative economic views getting pushed out and marginalized in academia. As Naked Capitalism has often documented, Neoclassical economics dominates public institutions worldwide with the support of many corporate and financial interests. A public platform helps to combat these attacks and support the development of ideas outside of traditional institutions.
Even during the brief time I’ve written for Yves, her support has had important payoffs. The Institute for New Economic Thinking reposted several of my posts and so did Truthout. Just recently the Indian journal Economic and Political Weekly contacted me about writing on the Debt Ceiling fight for them.
This isn’t about me, though. When you donate to Yves you are helping to keep a platform alive that can potentially support a whole new generation of aspiring writers and economists in developing their abilities as writers and researchers. There are many topics to which students such as myself (given time, resources and opportunity) could contribute immensely. An example that I’m thinking of is the post I did on Quantitative Easing (QE). There, I went back to Keynes himself to understand why a decrease in purchases of government bonds by the Fed would generate a panic among financial players (I refuse to say “the market”), implicitly showing why QE itself is a failure. This is a very unique but useful perspective for students to share. As always though, developing these potentialities requires time, energy, and resources, all of which require money!
I would be remiss if I left the impression that the relationship with Yves only goes one way. Those of us attracted to alternative ideas in economics have learned immensely from Yves. Whether following the latest rash of policies during the crisis or the latest intricate and complicated clusterfuckery in the mortgage market, Yves has been well ahead of even those who are willing to accept conclusions that are damning to policymakers.
Your support shows that there is value in this project and that you want the writing and analysis here to continue. Give, already! You’ll be happy you did!