Naked Capitalism Top Ten 2013 Posts, Two Ways

Yves here. Note that the reader totals that Lambert uses below understate our total readers considerably. The data he was used excludes RSS and email subscribers, which are roughly half our daily readers.

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Since Yves is so shy and retiring, and also trapped in an aluminum tube thousands of feet in the air, hopefully far away from any crying babies, it falls to me to write the Naked Capitalism “Top 10” post for 2013. I sliced the data two ways: Top Ten by unique views, and (thanks to a little SQL wrangling by admin Keith) Top Ten by comment count. These two rankings give a smidge of quantitative insight into the sort of material that you, readers, value (though to do a real McKinsey-style, Yves-style report would take a lot more work). MR SUBLIMINAL Garçon, more champagne!

Table 1: Naked Capitalism Top Ten 2013 Posts, by Unique Views
Post Views
How Goldman Cost $5 Billion Manipulating Aluminum Inventories (and Copper is Up Next) 29,421
Obama Starting to Lose It Over Snowden 18,612
The Rise of Bullshit Jobs* 12,877
A Disturbance in the Force? 12,560
Wheels Falling Off the Imperial Reality-Creating Machine 11,280
Chris Hedges: “America is a Tinderbox” 9,212
Why Larry Summers Should Not Be Permitted to Run Anything More Important than a Dog Pound 8,896
The TPP, if Passed, Spells the End of Popular Sovereignty for The United States 8,885
Ilargi: Deflation, A Stock Market Crash And Then Christmas* 8,801
“The Most Honest Three Minutes In Television History” 8,743
LEGEND: * Cross-post. “Bullshit Jobs” is a cross-post with extended critique

Now, Table 1 is just a little deceptive; I wanted to get a sense of the subject matter for high-ranking posts, and so I removed the daily Links post from the series. If I had included them, the bottom 5 would have been Links. And the bottom 10, 20, 30…. In fact, to collect the top ten non-Links posts, I had to go 278 posts down the 2013 rankings. To me, that testifies to the strength of the NC Links franchise (“I’d just like to say that I love this blog and I think you have the best Links section in all of the internets”. Thanks to the readers who suggest links!) Here’s a chart of those 278 which supports that idea:

Figure 1: Naked Capitalism Top Ten 2013 Posts as Power Curve (Including Links)nc_chart

Like so much else on the internet, NC posts follow a power curve. But the “shoulder” of the curve, descending from the first five posts is very steep, and the “long tail” flattens out a high level, which suggests, basically, the NC readers view all posts: Links, posts, and cross-posts. They approach NC systematically, rather than taking little nibble here and there.

Before looking at subject matter, let’s look at Top Ten Posts by comment count:

Table 2: Naked Capitalism Top Ten 2013 Posts, by Comment Count
Post Comments
What is Modern Monetary Theory, or “MMT”?* 465
A Disturbance in the Force? 380
Why Progressives Are Lame 370
Now It’s Official: Obama Sells Catfood Futures, Um, Social Security and Medicare Cuts 346
Chris Hedges: “America is a Tinderbox” 310
A Pox on Optimists! 305
The Rise of Bullshit Jobs* 292
The Coercive Power of Capitalism 274
“The Most Honest Three Minutes In Television History” 260
Edward Snowden Makes Himself an Even Bigger Problem to the Officialdom 257
LEGEND: * Cross-post. “Bullshit Jobs” is a cross-post with extended critique

For Table 2, I did not have to filter out Links; no Links posts occurred in the top ten posts by comment. If we take comment count as a proxy for controversy, that suggests that Links generate less controversy than posts, which should come as no surprise, since posts generally express a thesis which readers will wish to support or oppose or critique. (Links, of course, often express multiple theses, but generally only implicitly.)

Top Ten by Views and Top Ten by Comments have the following posts in common:

  • The Rise of Bullshit Jobs 12,877/292
  • A Disturbance in the Force? 12,560/380
  • Chris Hedges: “America is a Tinderbox” 9,212/310
  • “The Most Honest Three Minutes In Television History” 8,743/260

The subject matter of the first post concerns what, er, Marx would call the “social relations of production” and why workers are alienated from those relations; because they’re bullshit, indeed, but not perhaps for the reason the (cross-posted) author proposes. (Readers will naturally feel free to relitigate their comments on these posts.) The last three posts are what I call “zeitgeist” posts; they attempt to capture or presage “the spirit of the age,” much as an animal may call an earthquake early by acting restlessly, or howling. Since both the Internet readership and the NC commentariat rank these posts high, we might regard them as expressing what “everybody knows.” Cue Leonard Cohen:

Now let’s look at the differences between the two Top Ten lists by classifying them according to their subject matter in addition to Zeitgeist; let’s use the categories in the new motto — Finance, Economics, Politics, and Power. Herewith:

Table 3: Naked Capitalism Top Ten 2013 Posts by Views and Comments, Categorized
Finance Economics Politics Power Zeitgeist

How Goldman Cost $5 Billion Manipulating Aluminum Inventories (and Copper is Up Next)

What is Modern Monetary Theory, or “MMT”?*

Wheels Falling Off the Imperial Reality-Creating Machine

Obama Starting to Lose It Over Snowden

A Disturbance in the Force?

Ilargi: Deflation, A Stock Market Crash And Then Christmas*

The Coercive Power of Capitalism

Chris Hedges: “America is a Tinderbox”

Why Larry Summers Should Not Be Permitted to Run Anything More Important than a Dog Pound

“The Most Honest Three Minutes In Television History”

The Rise of Bullshit Jobs

The TPP, if Passed, Spells the End of Popular Sovereignty for The United States

Edward Snowden Makes Himself an Even Bigger Problem to the Officialdom

A Pox on Optimists!


Why Progressives Are Lame

LEGEND: Top general readership (views); Top NC commentariat (comment count); Top general readership and NC commentariat (views and comment count); * cross-post

Table 3 suggests that the NC commentariat is far more interested in Economics than the general readership; conversely, general readers are more interested in Finance. The NC commentariat is more interested in the exercise of political power by named persons; the general readers more interested in politics as such. Both readerships are interested in the zeitgeist, which makes sense if you consider that whatever’s “in the air” could have predictive value.

* * *

There is probably much more to be gleaned from quantitative study of NC readership statistics, but this will have to do for now. Readers, thoughts? Posts that you’re amazed didn’t make the Top Ten? Alternative metrics?

Posts you would like to see?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post on by .

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. Kurt Sperry

      If you live in Florence, I’d be interested in your take on Matteo Renzi. I watched him (on TV) give a long performance in Taranto and it was an impressive feat of extemporaneous speaking–even if the content was mostly stale PD boilerplate.

  1. ambritl

    Two things popped into my head, (besides the fresh chicken soup and hot rum and lemon I’m taking for my Years End Flu,); first, those posts with long internal commentariat threads, and second, the most cross posted outside blogs, (which would have to include individual posts within Links.) The pattern of sources for cross posts would be interesting. (I know, I know, a joke concerning “Fellow Travelers” would be appropriate.)
    The terms Esoteric and Eclectic fit.

  2. ambrit

    One more idea to join my previous comment. How about a ranking by highest Troll response? The numbers and source, if verifiable, of agitprop comments would be very useful. Knowing who you p— off and how badly is always telling.

  3. vox populi

    Thanks for this post. I’ve noticed that, more and more, I’ve been going directly to Links, sometimes not reading any posts at all. What’s missing in the posts is the possibility of surprise. It’s always about the same —holes doing the same sh– and getting away with it, year after year after year. Not that we don’t need to know.

    1. lambert strether

      Yes, elie impunity, massive corruption, impacted bullshit in ginormous amounts… and move along, people, move along. There’s no story here….

    2. Pelham

      I partly agree. This site is indispensable for disclosure and analysis. But what we need and have needed for quite some time is an effective plan of action. And by that I don’t mean ideas for reform and regulation and advice on writing your congressman or occupying Wall Street (unless maybe a real occupation — as in seizing and immobilizing — is intended). I mean something way, way beyond the usual, something perhaps frightening to contemplate.

  4. Paul Tioxon


    Because all of us are people, we all live as people, feel as people, think as people, act or decide not to act as people, there is a greater strength in what we know individually about humanity as a whole. As opposed to what we may know individually about the weather, or other animals, or cement drying after its poured and is cured by the air. We do not need scientific instrumentation or methodology to know our own humanity. What everybody knows is confirmed by so many other people in the writing they left behind, their artwork, their buildings. And artists are licensed to say universal truths without demanding fealty, dogmatic subservience, or signed contracts of secrecy with oaths of allegiance. It’s no wonder that so much of the zeitgeist is so important to us when we comment on NC. We are a community built on the mutual of recognition of each of ourselves in the others we read here everyday. Happy New Year Everybody!!!!!!!!! Going to watch the Mummers for the rest of the day.

  5. susan the other

    The Rise of Bullshit Jobs was even better the second time. Thanks Lambert. And Leonard Cohen was a nice touch. Great strings. In fact that could be a topic: Everybody Knows So Why Don’t We Do Something? Happy New Year everyone.

  6. coboarts

    I used the email option for years, but the website is set up so well that for quite some time now I’ve just gone directly to it each day. So, besides the great posts, links and comments, the work you’ve been doing on the site has also been first rate. I can’t wait to one day find out how I view the site relates to my other browsing habits, purchase history, dna structure and life history. So, if you’re out there, and you’re tracking, please send me a report.

  7. Crazy Horse

    Everybody Knows that Leonard Cohen writes great lyrics but can’t sing to save his soul. This live rendition is perhaps the worst version I’ve ever heard. What were they thinking when they selected the background music?

    Here is “Everybody Knows” sung by Johnette Napolitano, arguably the best female rock vocalist of her generation.

  8. albrt

    The thing that jumped out at me was that all four of the crossover top posts were from a relatively short time period in late summer. It feels to me like the active discontent has changed considerably toward learned helplessness since then.

  9. Carl

    I’m surprised none of your Obamacare essays made the list. Maybe in aggregate, they would. They were engrossing, educational, fascinating like a train-wreck.

  10. Jeff N

    yes, I am less interested in finance.
    love me some repub+dem bashing.
    I actually did not like the “bullshit jobs” article. I mean, a job is a job as long as it pays the bills.

Comments are closed.