When I started this website, one goal was that it would have was an active comments section where savvy, engaged readers would debate the information presented in the and relates matters. I don’t know how it came abut, but the Naked Capitalism commentariat embodies that aspiration even more than I dared hope.
This community is more important than you might imagine. It is more than just a resource for sharing information. It has become a place where we work together to understand how the our economic and social structures are being hollowed out to serve the interests of the top wealthy and their well-placed minions.
In the immediate aftermath of the crisis, it was obvious what had happened. The bailouts were the greatest transfer of wealth in history. Simon Johnson called it a quiet coup by financiers. But as the ripples of that shock continue to fan out, it takes more effort to connect the dots on longer and longer causal chains to understand the forces that are driving this unravelling, to understand finance as it has come to be constituted as a drive of injustice, as a device for predation and looting on a mass basis. We come together to document its progress, to validate the experience of the victims and do what we can in our small way to help, and to identify leverage points.
It is not obvious how to break the stranglehold of elite financiers. But remaining ignorant about how they operate guarantees that they will be able to improve upon their already advantaged position. You can have an impact on the banking front, in ways small and large, from warning friends and colleagues about the dangers of various borrowing and investment products, to writing regulators about why you are opposed to yet more concessions to a bloated financial services industry. This is a front where citizens like you can take ground back, but only if you go to the effort to arm yourself with information. .
And readers understand and value the role we play in this effort. From reader TarheelDem:
The combination of clear explanation of how the technical aspects of finance affect social justice and environmental aspects of public policy are why I continue to check out the articles and links on the this site. And post them through Facebook to friends who have worked in banking who would not otherwise encounter them and friends who are outside the FIRE sector who need the translation of the finance mumbo-jumbo to understand national issues. I continue to be thankful for the work that Yves and Lambert do here.
I was educated in English literature and adult education. When the financial crisis hit, I wondered about the details of what went wrong and started reading and commenting on various blogs. At one point, I was asked to compile daily articles in a blog based on one bank’s fraudulent behaviour which helped me understand that institution. One of the links on that blog was to NC and I began to read it every day.
I know more about how finance works, about derivatives, and about MMT than I thought I could ever absorb….I have the greatest admiration for those who continue to slog away at presenting the truth and revealing all the lies that define the financial industry worldwide. Please continue to present your financial analyses and I will read them and continue to learn.
From reader HotFlash:
My dear Yves and Lambert,
I read the wonky posts very slowly, as I have to look up much and ponder more and try to work out how this actually works, that is, who is in the room with whom and who are giving each other high fives. After two years steady reading, including several re-readings of Econned, much of it is still way over my head, but I understand better what is happening and how. And even a bit of why, and am finding to my delight and astonishment that I can even predict a bit. I am encouraged that so many smart, knowledgeable people also think that the system is rotten to the core and can cite specifics, name names and draw the exploded diagrams. In short, I don’t have much to add to the financial posts, but there is much I take away. Thank you both.
There are puppets and there are puppetmasters. Politics and the people who play them are merely the puppets. Finance/economics is/are the puppetmasters. At the end of the day all anybody wants is the money; then they buy all the politicians they want. And, imo, there was a decision that a strong middle class was a threat to the 1% and they’ve been chipping away at it for 30 years (or more). Give us economic justice and there will be more social justice.
When the bailouts came, I recognized the discourse immediately as identical to the foreign policy discussions prior to the Iraq war. I had experienced the doomsday prophecies already, the various establishment organs lying to push policy. But I didn’t understand the details, how to think about the banking system. Naked Capitalism helped provide both the quality content and the confidence of a group to that problem….
Naked Capitalism, like Occupy Wall Street, is a threat to the establishment. I wrote of Occupy as a “Church of Dissent”, because it was a space, a place where people could come together to build a different narrative about our society. Right now, Occupy is embarrassing the government through its phenomenal work serving the victims of Sandy, while also showing that a different way of organizing our social resources is possible. And that too is what Naked Capitalism and this community really has done, for financially oriented elites. Yves has created, through tireless (and I do mean tireless) work, a credible place to discuss the shape of the world that is being created…
This is a key step in building the new world we know is coming. It’s to get us, together, to talk to each other, learn from each other, and recognize that mobilizing our collective intellectual honesty is the only way we will get there. Naked Capitalism is a community. Yves is obsessed with listening to your comments, to your emails, to your thoughts and ideas. And she genuinely cares, to an extent I’ve never seen, about getting every single detail on the policy right. I pretty much know that if it’s on this site, it’s probably correct.
This is essential for taking on an elite gone mad. When every institutional power center is leaning on every policymaker to push more carbon into the atmosphere, to cut social programs for all of us, to ratchet up the war machine, to empower the TBTF banks, dissent becomes more and more difficult. But the irony is that it is times like these when the system is weak, when the lies become even more important. Naked Capitalism is the antidote. It isn’t the whole solution, obviously. But do not underestimate the importance of having a consistent top quality community discussing financial regulations, politics and economics with social justice as the goal. This stuff is actionable, it can and sometimes does turn into policy.
We are working together to create a new world that is more humane, that is more just, and that we can be proud of. While that may seem like an unachievable ambition, in the early 1970s, when a small group of extreme right-wingers mapped out a plan to make American values and institutions subservient to the interests of big business, their goals also seemed unrealistic. Radical social change is possible and one of the requirements form making it happen is having audacious goals.
We hope you’ll support our efforts. There are multiple ways to give. The first is here on the blog, the Tip Jar, which takes you to PayPal. There you can use a debit card, a credit card or a PayPal account (the charge will be in the name of Aurora Advisors).
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Thanks again for your readership and support!