Lambert Strether: Why You Should Give to Naked Capitalism

By lambert strether of Corrente

This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 698 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, on our kickoff post or one discussing our current target. –Yves

Word of the day: Encomium.

Michael M. Thomas, Bill Black, Neil Barofsky, Harry Shearer, and Matt Stoller have already written encomia for Naked Capitalism. That’s a remarkable list of endorsements. Did I mention the Tip Jar? And that a WePay button is to your right, in the sidebar, if you scroll down?

And now it’s my turn. I was going to write a whole history of the blogosphere, and the place of Naked Capitalism in it, but that would have ended up being all about me, and who wants that? So let me cut to the chase — or, in the financial argot I am slowly acquiring, the ‘bottom line” — and give two reasons why you should give Naked Capitalism money. Did I mention the Tip Jar?

First, a bit, only a little bit, of history: When I was coming up, the idea was that we, the bloggers, were going to replace the press, not become them. We would tell the truth. Lots of us forged our online identities playing whack-a-mole with George Bush’s WMD disinformation campaign, for example. For some, official deceit was intolerable. For others, official deceit turned out to be intolerable only when practiced by others: Other tribes, other factions, other parties. Yves, and Naked Capitalism, belong in the former category.

Writers for Naked Capitalism are not asked to adhere to a line. They are not asked to avoid creating awkwardnesses for those in the seats of power. They are not asked to postpone what they have to say “until after the election” or because “the mid-terms are coming up.” Yves demands of her writers that they exercise their critical thinking skills and write at the top of their form. Naked Capitalism, in other words, is an “old school” blog that fulfills the mission of the blogosphere as an old school blogger like me would understand it.

Telling the truth is good behavior. And you should reward good behavior in a very quantitative and metric-driven way, such that a goals-oriented finance person and former McKinsey consultant like Yves would be sure to get your message loud and clear. Did I mention the Tip Jar?

Second, a word about blogging. Blogging is an intensely effortful and stressful activity. Effort: Yves has been writing McKinsey-level essays on the most pressing issues in political economy for years on a nightly basis, along with curating the daily Links post, now the front page news for many of us and certainly me. Effort: Moderating a very large and highly informed commentariat that is not without contentiousness. Effort: Working long hours at a computer takes a toll on the back, the heart, the eyes, the hands, the fingers, sleeping patterns, everything. And that’s before Yves gets to email correspondence, finding writers, reviewing submissions, the site chores, refusing to take phone calls from high officials… Readers, Naked Capitalism is a full-time job! A full-time job, of course, on top of the day job that Yves already has.

Readers, to my first point, you may believe that the truth is its own reward and feel unwilling to give on that basis. However, all the effort I have just described — the full time job that is Naked Capitalism — was paid forward by Yves with no expectation of reward other than the doing of it (and your commentary) spelled out. So, exactly because there’s no contract involved, I think that in justice and charity you should, if you can, give back, and keep this cycle of giving in motion. I know I mentioned the Tip Jar, but one more time….

Here endeth the encomium.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Susan the other

    Many thanks to you too Lambert. I found your permaculture clips to be mind changing. In that I had almost given up on that kind of living, and then I saw how effectively it was being done and realized sanity really is still possible. Steve Keen’s new theory of all and everything economically sustainable is the corollary to the practice of permaculture. I would love a grand unifying theory.

  2. Kokuanani

    Count me as a success story, Lambert.

    I’ve already given to this fund-raiser, but I’m going over to subscribe. [Do you get to count me again?]

    Thanks for all ALL of you folks do!

      1. Kokuanani

        Damn it, you apparently have to have a PayPal account to do a subscription. I don’t, and refuse to open one. I’ll just have to put you on my list of monthly “bills,” but glad to do so.

        1. Yves Smith

          Thanks for your interest, and sorry that WePay does not offer that option. You’d think this world of payments would allow for more choices.

          You can also send checks. I have one reader who faithfully sends me $5 a month. You could post date them if you want to save yourself the hassle of a monthly mailing.

  3. Brooklin Bridge

    Word has it that Lambert’s only failing, and this flash is from a reliable source who nevertheless spoke on condition of anonymity, is a tendency to forget about mentioning the tip jar.

  4. Richard Beard

    Is there a post office box to send a U.S. Postal Service money order donation? Such a fine website – I got here from Mr. M. Hudson’s website. Thank you.

    1. Yves Smith

      Yes, Lambert’s TIp Jar chorus was entertaining, but at the top of the post, there is a link to the kickoff post, which does have the address. Checks are actually preferable, no middleman fees.

      Please BE SURE to make the check out in the name of Aurora Advisors Incorporated.

      Thanks a ton!

  5. Bill Markle

    I also would like a way to send a check – I need an address. I read Naked Capitalism in Hangzhou, China, and it is in fact my daily read for news of all kinds. I use it for myself and for my students. Krugman is now blocked, along with the NYT, and NC has been a source of material for my macro students over the last three years.

    This is one of the two or three sites I must have here. When NC gets blocked, I will come home. But if NC were to end, I would stay here. No one else writes as honestly and as comprehensively as Ives does, and my idea is that NC helps to keep people a little more honest than they might be otherwise. NC helps comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable. A noble calling.

  6. freedomny

    Alright all ready…gave.

    Drove the car down to the Rockaways/Belle H today. Sand and boats that were on the streets have been cleared. Fema and RC is there…but what is really amazing is…Occupy did so much more….This group, that was so trashed in MSM, coordinated better than Fema, RedCross…

    Occupy…with no government finances…achieved more than Fema or Red Cross.

  7. nocarrier

    Just threw $5 your way. I don’t have much to give, as I barely make above minimum right now. I wish I could afford more, because the insight and analysis here at NC is incomparable and worth infinitely more than I can currently afford to contribute.

    I’ve been a devotee ever since I caught your guest posts over at Glenn Greenwald’s old Salon column. I try to turn as many people on to NC as I can.

    Challenging the established narratives handed down to us by those in power is a daunting, nearly impossible task. I’m truly grateful that there are intelligent and thoughtful voices such as those found at NC that, on a daily basis, remind us that there are always alternatives.

    Please keep up the exemplary work. What you’re all doing here, this is deeply important stuff. Thanks.

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