Cathy O’Neil: Support Naked Capitalism

This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 765 donors have already invested in our efforts to shed light on the dark and seamy corners of finance. Join us and participate via our Tip Jar or WePay in the right column or read about why we’re doing this fundraiser and other ways to donate, such as by check, or our current target.

By Cathy O’Neil, a data scientist and member of the Occupy Wall Street Alternative Banking Group who blogs at mathbabe

Being a quantitative, experiment-minded person, I’ve decided to go about helping Yves Smith raise funds for Naked Capitalism using the scientific approach.

After a bit of research on what makes people haul their asses off the couch to write checks, I stumbled upon this blogpost from, which explains that I should appeal to readers’ emotions rather than reason. From the post:

The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action, while reason leads to conclusions.

Let’s face it, regular readers of Naked Capitalism have come to enough conclusions to last a life time, and they love it, and that’s why they come back for more. But now it’s time for action, people!

According to the nonprofit experts, the leading emotions I should appeal to are as follows:

anger, fear, greed, guilt, flattery, exclusivity, and salvation.

This is a model. The model is that, if I appeal to the above emotions, you guys will write checks (instructions here). Actually the barrier to entry is even lower, because it’s all done electronically through Paypal. So you can’t even use the excuse that you’ve run out of checks or have lost your pen in the cushions of your sofa.

Here’s the experimental design. This time I’ll do my best to appeal to the above emotions. Next time, so a year from now, I’ll instead write a well-reasoned, well-articulated explanation of how reasonable it would be for you to donate some funds towards the continuation of Naked Capitalism.

I’ll do my best to give them both my best shot so as to keep the experiment unbiased, but note I’m choosing this method first.


This one is kind of too easy. How many time have you gotten extremely pissed off at yet another example of the regulators giving a pass at outright criminal behavior in the financial industry? And where do you go to join in a united chorus of vitriol? Who’s got your back on this, people? That’s right, Yves does.


Have you guys wondered what the consequences of fighting back for your rights are when you’re foreclosed on and feeling all along fighting against a big bank? Yves has got your back here too, and she helps explain your rights, she helps inspire you to fight, and she gives voice to the voiceless.


You know what’s amazing about NC? It’s free consulting. Yves has an amazing background and could be charging the very big bucks for this research, but instead she’s giving it away free. That’s like free money, people!


And you know what else? The New York Times charges you for their news, big-time, and it’s not even high quality, it has no depth, and they don’t dare touch anything that might harm their comfortable liberal existence. Pussies. Oh wait, maybe that goes into the “anger” section.

Back to guilt: how much money do you regularly spend on crappy stuff that doesn’t actually improve your life and doesn’t inform and inspire you? How many over-priced coffee drinks do you buy every year? One a day, you say!? That’s $1500. Buy drip coffee and donate like $700 to Yves instead.


You know what’s super sexy? You, giving a bit of your money to NC in thanks and appreciation. Hot.


Not everyone can do this, you know. Only people who are invited even know about this. Which to say, anyone reading this right now, so you.


Be honest. How much work did you do in the financial sector before you saw the light? Maybe you’re even still working in that cesspool? Maybe you’re even feeling sorry for yourself because your bonus is gonna be shit again this year??

Well, it’s time for a wee reality check and some serious paying of the piper. Where by “the piper”, I of course refer to Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism.

I believe there’s a way to give to the “Tip Jar” on the top right-hand corner of the page. It might even be filled out for you! Please feel free to add “0”‘s to that number on the right, before clicking the “donate” button. I know it will make you feel better to atone.

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  1. Kevin Smith

    Hi Cathy,

    For those who hate [or don’t have] PayPal, if you scroll w-a-y d-o-w-n and watch the left hand column, you will eventually hit
    Donate via WePay.
    This is great, because you can use your credit card, or even write a cheque.

    Yves ought to move WePay up so it is at the top of the left hand column, grouped with the other methods of supporting NC.

    Love your work!


  2. Clive

    How dare you call my esteemed (well, formerly esteemed) method of earning a living (mostly honestly, honest) a cesspool ?!

    That’s defamatory to cesspools.

  3. gonzomarx

    “anger, fear, greed, guilt, flattery, exclusivity, and salvation.”
    isn’t this the bases of all religious dogmatist appeal and of all political campaign strategies?

  4. tim8alete

    I love throwing $20 rocks and boquets. It gives me great satisfaction. I feel identification with those that picked up cobblestones and threw them in France. I feel audience participation by applauding/supporting the performers/team. That is like handing them a bouquet they turn into a well aimed rock because they are at the front and can throw them better than me.

    Both motivated by pure feeling. Pure feeling is a spontaneous expression function of pure thinking. I don’t even think about it, just do it. NC and OWS both got $20 so did many politicians. All get $20 more every time they score a point with me. It’s casting my vote written on a $20 ballot.

    I am not a leading nonprofit expert but consider adding my motivator to the list>


    It just feels good. If I thought about it then I know why but thinking preceded the feeling and satisfaction is pure joy. NC is a place where I think about what I find. Feeling follows with $20.

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