We Are Eight Years Old

birthday cake with candles eight years oldEvery year, I use the birthday post to thank the people who have contributed to the success of this site over time. Now that we are eight years old, that list is so long that any effort to do it justice will inevitably neglect some key people. So I hope no one takes offense at an oversight.

I started writing this blog because it seemed like a good idea at the time. More specifically, it seemed at that time that there were things that needed to be said. In the fall and winter of 2006, if you read between the lines of the Financial Times and Bloomberg, it was not hard to see that credit risk was grossly underpriced across all debt instruments, or to put it another way, that we were in the midst of a huge credit bubble. And you’d never be able to discern that by reading the Wall Street Journal or New York Times. It was clear this wall of liquidity, as it was described at the time, was going to end badly, but when and how was an open question.

Starting a blog is like setting up a soapbox in a park. You have no idea if anyone is going to listen. So I set six month, twelve month, eighteen month and twenty four month readership targets. Every time it looked like I might not make a target, a wheel would fall off the financial system and my readership would spike up. The first wheel of that sort was the implosion of two Bear Stearns hedge funds that had invested heavily in subprime

What was also critical to our early growth was the number of established writers and sites that took interest in our work, including Felix Salmon, Mark Thoma, Tanta at Calculated Risk, Cactus at Angry Bear, the writers at FT Alphaville, and Paul Krugman. And as the site grew, our comments section became more vibrant and an attraction in and of itself. Our records show that vlade is our longest-established comments section member.

In more recent years, we’ve been fortunate in attracting some core collaborators. Richard Smith, Andrew Dittmer, Tom Adams, and Tom Ferguson all played critically important roles when I was writing ECONNED, either with the book proper or with the site, and continue to be important advisors. Lambert is a mainstay of this site, and David Dayen and Matt Stoller are important contributors and well regarded writers in their own right. We worked with legal experts on foreclosure fraud and servicing abuses, including Adam Levitin, Bubba Grimsley, Nick Wooten, April Charney, Max Gardner, Abigail Field, Matt Weidner, Tom Cox, as well as activists like Lisa Epstein and Michael Olenick. Newer writers and contributors include Philip Pilkington, Nathan Tankus, Mathew D. Rose, and Igancio Portes. And we could not get by without our WordPress jockey, Tony Collins.

We’ve also had whistleblowers alert us to and help us develop critically important stories, such as Entirely Random and CDO Guy, who put us on the Magnetar trail, nine insiders who gave us detailed information about the bank servicing coverup otherwise known as the Independent Foreclosure Review, and currently, some well placed sources who are deeply knowledgeable about private equity misconduct.

And I would particularly like to thank readers who send us links and antidotes; regulars include furzy mouse, martha r, Chuck L, Carol B, YY, 1 SK, Deontos, Robert M, and John L. And last but not least the established members of the commentariat, such as craazyman, Banger, My Less Than Prime Beef, James Levy, Ben Johannson, OIFVet, jackrabbit, and Jim Haygood (don’t feel neglected if you were not singled out! There are too many good members of the commentariat to begin to give an adequate listing).

Last but not least: we depend on the contributions of our loyal donors. We would not be able to produce this site at its current level of output and quality without your help. So a big thanks for your generosity and vote of confidence in our work.

Lambert points out that eight is an auspicious number. Some of you may know the Lindsay Anderson movie O Lucky Man! which is a surrealist picture about capitalism (songs include Poor People, Sell Sell and Justice). One of its devices is to use the band as a chorus: the movie stops and cuts away to a song, and then resumes.

This is the theme song for the film, which I also hope can be our theme song for the upcoming year:

If you have a friend on whom you think you can rely
You are a lucky man
If you’ve found the reason to live on and not to die
You are a lucky man
Preachers and poets and scholars don’t know it
Temples and statues and steeples won’t show it
If you’ve got the secret just try not to blow it
Stay a lucky man! A lucky man!

If you’ve found the meaning of the truth in this old world
You are a lucky man
If knowledge hangs around your neck like pearls instead of chains
You are a lucky man
Takers and fakers and talkers won’t tell you
Teachers and preachers will just buy and sell you
When no one can tempt you with heaven or hell
You’ll be a lucky man

Takers and fakers and talkers won’t tell you
Teachers and preachers will just buy and sell you
When no one can tempt you with heaven or hell
You’ll be a lucky man
You’ll be better by far to be just what you are
You can be what you want if you are what you are
And that’s a lucky man!
Oh yeah, a lucky man
And that’s a lucky, a lucky, a lucky man
A lucky, a lucky, a lucky man


The final scene version includes this section:

Because on and on
And on and on we go
And it’s around the world
In circles turning
Earning what we can
While others dance away
The chance to light your way


Thanks again for your readership and support!

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  1. ambrit

    Happy Birthday NC!
    A shining light in the darkness.
    The spark that lights a fire.
    A true mirror in the funhouse.

  2. abynormal

    Yves, your tenaciousness and perseverance makes you a leader by example!

    Here’s that you may live to eat the hen
    That scratches on your grave.

  3. Bierce

    This blog has given me tools to form a critical opinion on a wide variety of topics. I hope it continues for many, many more years. Congratulations!

  4. Ben Johannson

    Eight years for a blog is quite an accomplishment Eight years and still growing is extraordinary. There is no other site I’ve encountered that offers this quality and originality of blogging, nor such a high caliber of useful, non-abusive, educational commenting. NK is my first stop every morning and will continue to be so for a long time.

  5. vlade

    8 years already? doesn’t feel like that.. Looking forward to another 8, although TBH I’d not mind living in less interesting time with less stuff to write about..

  6. Patricia

    I don’t comment much any more but I always read NC. When I’ve been away, I catch up.

    Thanks for all your amazing work, Yves. You are the best.

  7. evodevo

    Thank you, Yves…thank you thank you thank you. If it hadn’t been for you, Calculated Risk and Barry Ritholz, I would never have known what was going down. I learned the basics of econ from you all, and was following the trail of the banksters, BEFORE the Great Crash and was prepared.
    Did I say thanks?

  8. ex-PFC Chuck

    If some semblance of government of, by and for all the people is eventually restored in the USA, Naked Capitalism will be one of the reasons why. Thank you for all you have done and are continuing to do.

    1. trinity river

      Yves, I wish I had been reading NC all eight years. Yet I grateful to have found you eventually. I agree with Chuck that “If some semblance of government of, by and for all the people is eventually restored in the USA, Naked Capitalism will be one of the reasons why.”

      If only we had politicians at least as good as we had in the 1930s or 1970s.

      You are the Ferdinand Pecora of this century and more.

      [Only Yesterday: an Informal History of the 1920’s, Frederick Lewis Allen]

  9. William Beyer

    You’ve been on my plate first thing every morning since the beginning, and have introduced me to so many valuable resources, including your incredible book, Econned. Thanks for all you do!

  10. William C


    Thank you so much. You are my go-to site everyday after reading the FT. I always benefit from your incisive analysis and questioning approach.

    I should perhaps also thank Willem Buiter, as it was through his site that I found this one.

  11. Eclair

    Yves, I can’t even remember life without Naked Capitalism! Thank you so much for your dedication and fire and incisive analysis. And, that goes for Lambert, too.

  12. petal

    Happy Birthday! I read NC every day and it has become an indispensable part of my morning. To many more years! Cheers!

  13. Jim Haygood

    ‘Every time it looked like I might not make a target, a wheel would fall off the financial system and my readership would spike up.’

    During the aftermath of the internet bubble (2000-2003), I hung out at a bearish-themed site. We had several meetups in NYC, where we fondled gold coins and on one occasion, drunk as skunks, ventured out to drop our drawers and moon the Nasdaq stock exchange.

    Later the proprietor confessed that his all-time peak in traffic occurred on 11 Mar 2003, the exact date of a secondary low, after which stocks launched on a 4-1/2 year climb. His site is still live, but it’s a shadow of its former self.

    Yves Smith wouldn’t make that sort of mistake. But one financial site which reportedly is quite profitable (starts with a ‘z’) always manages to highlight the dark side of every news story and market move. This appeals to a certain demographic, but it’s probably not a good strategy.

    Happy 8th birthday. Sorry about the pony; maybe next year.

  14. Andrew Watts

    Happy Birthday Naked Capitalism!

    Every day that isn’t your birthday is your un-birthday and still worth celebrating. Happy un-birthday to all!

  15. JEHR

    I was fortunate enough to find the NC site which has contributed mightily to my on-going adult education. I look forward to reading it every day and am often amazed that the subject of finance can sometimes be as exciting and exhilarating as classical literature.

  16. lightningclap

    I am also eternally grateful for your work. I stumbled here via a link in ’07 looking for info on banks’ mortgage chicanery. Many topics covered here are mentioned in the MSM, but they “bury the lede”; you (and Lambert and other contributors) do an excellent job of giving context and describing complicated topics in laymen’s terms. As per your earlier post, the economic issues DO relate to the larger picture offered by NC.

    Readers must also note that the quality of the comments comes from a high level of moderation not found elsewhere. There is actual discourse with intelligent people here!

    Interesting that if the crisis had been handled differently (i.e. prosecutions), the site might not be as popular today.

  17. Old Clamdiggers

    NC -Daily read for this working guy living on a Maine island.
    Thank you so much for showing me a world I could only guess existed.

  18. Richvh

    I would like to add my thanks for all that you have done to educate us ordinary citizens. A special thanks for the wide ranging topics of the daily links page. Some of my most fascinating reads this year had nothing to do with finance or politics but were unusual articles I found on the links page. For me they have become an indispensable part of the NC experience!

  19. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

    Happy Birthday, NC! And thanks for 8 great years of information and analysis. Here’s to lots and lots more!

  20. anonymous123

    Congratulations! I’ve been a daily reader since early 2008 and can’t tell you how much I’ve learned about finance, economics, politics, and how it all relates to our world at large. This site has been an invaluable bastion of knowledge and critical analysis. Keep going on!

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Thank you, Yves and Lambert for help me, and if I may presume to say, others as well to cope with these past eight, um, not so pleasant years.

    I think of this site like a far away Celtic monastery, off to the periphery of the empire, in fact, the very edge of civilization, a sanctuary from the insanity of a world overrun by rich barbarians (this time, the real barbarians), preserving wisdoms that will be helpful for the survivors in the future.

  22. OIFVet

    Happy Birthday! Thank you Yves and Lambert for putting in the many hours of work that it takes to provide the outstanding coverage of the issues of this age. NC has become my first read in the morning, and the most valuable one too. And thank you to the NC community, I am learning a lot from you.

    1. bruno marr

      …and “learning” is the greatest value of reading NC.

      Yves and friends… You’re all talents!

  23. phaedras25

    Happy Birthday! I can’t believe it’s been 8 years. Thank you so much for doing this blog! I can’t articulate enough how much it helps parse problems in the system, but also is a daily reminder that I’m not the only person in the world watching what is happening and saying WTF :)

  24. skippy

    The blog that does not sleep nor does the hostess… grimly marches on…

    Skippy… longest forward op I’ve ever been on~~~

  25. optimader

    Congratulations to all those responsible for the eight years of persistent efforts behind the curtain at NC! It’s great that you remain passionate and have the wherewithal to pursue exactly what you want do.

  26. readerOfTeaLeaves

    Thanks very much to Yves, Lambert, the resident experts (particularly, in my case, Tom Adams and Adam Levitin), and other commenters. You all give me hope that smart, funny, well-informed people can achieve remarkable feats.

  27. EmilianoZ

    Barry Ritholtz has noted, in an overview of his long years as a blogger, that he believed the commentariat was no longer useful. That is certainly true for his blog, but that is emphatically not the case for NC. Maybe he failed to cultivate an interesting, intelligent and mostly courteous commentariat. But Yves and Lambert definitely succeeded.

    To NC, the only place in the world wide web with a commentariat worth reading!

  28. Elizabeth

    Happy Birthday Yves and Lambert – I haven’t been reading you for 8 years, but I wish I had. I read NC daily for the last four years, and can truly say I’ve received quite an education. Thank you for shining your light on the dark underworld of finance and politics. I hope NC is around forever. The antidotes help me get through the day.

  29. sd

    Happy Birthday Naked Capitalism. Thank you for everything you do to make the world a better and more fair place.

  30. Jackrabbit

    Many Happy Returns NC!

    Congrats to Yves for establishing a beacon of truth and a big – THANK YOU – to Yves, Lambert & everyone else that contributes to the NC success.

    H O P

  31. participant-observer-observed

    Happy Birthday to NC and long life!

    Thanks for making an online refuge! Even those of us in non-finance vocations get to benefit from the NC pros, and watching the econ dynamics, gives a 6-month heads-up lead on the political shakedowns that follow! In other words, its 6 months or more ahead of other news sources, there is hardly a need to pay attention to them with NC around!

  32. Richard Burr

    Happy birthday and congratulations! Please start taking weekends off. We don’t want you to burn out.

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