We are Nine Years Old

nine year old birthday cakeEvery year, I use the birthday post to thank the people who have contributed to the success of this site over time. We’ve been so busy this year that I failed to commemorate passing some important thresholds, like having published 15,000 posts. But we just clicked past 16,000 in the last 24 hours, so this birthday post marks two major milestones. And we are fewer than 300 comments shy of having published 675,000 comments since this blog started in 2006.

Now that we are nine 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 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 debt bubble. And that idea was pretty much absent from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. It was clear this wall of liquidity, as it was called then, 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 meet a goal, a wheel would obligingly fall off the financial system and my readership would spike up. The first wheel that fell off on a timely basis was the implosion of two Bear Stearns hedge funds that had invested heavily in subprime.

What was also critical to our early growth was that established writers and sites 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. Vlade is our longest-established comments section member and he continues to provide important technical information, as he did several times in the past week.

In more recent years, we’ve been fortunate in attracting some core collaborators. Richard Smith, Andrew Dittmer, Ed Harrison, 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 most continue to be important advisors. Lambert and David Dayen are mainstays of the site. Matt Stoller has been a very highly regarded writer both here and at other sites, and continues to provide important intelligence about politics and policy. 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 Clive, Philip Pilkington, Nathan Tankus, Michael Crimmins, Mathew D. Rose, and Igancio Portes. Richard Smith’s work on international fraud has also helped strengthen our ties with writer working on aligned issues, like Nicholas Shaxson, an expert on “offshore,” or international tax avoidance.

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, resilc, David L, Chuck L, EM, margarita, martha r, Carol B, YY, 1 SK, Deontos, Robert M, Bill B, bob (who also helped us rescue Gabriel when he got stuck behind our huge bookcase) and John L. And last but not least the established members of the commentariat, such as craazyman and now craazyboy, diptherio, MyLessThanPrimeBeef, James Levy, ambrit, OIFVet, Oregoncharles, washanute, and Jim Haygood (don’t feel neglected if you were not singled out! There are too many esteemed members of the commentariat to begin to give an adequate listing).

I have not included this category in the past, which is a big oversight on my part, but I also wanted to thank colleagues in the media, for helping to promote our work, most important when we have been pursuing overlapping stories. It’s been gratifying to find that journalists and commentators on established platforms have seen our work as complementing theirs rather than as competitive. These media allies include Harry Shearer, Gretchen Morgenson, Bill Moyers (who even in his supposed retirement sometimes features our work on his site), David Sirota, and Chris Flood of the Financial Times.

And we must thank CalPERS for providing such a window into how public pension funds have been captured by alternative investment managers. Ironically, our very first post in 2006 was about CalPERS, pointing out that the logic of their own statements about the lackluster performance of hedge funds said they should exit that strategy. It took them a full eight years to act on what their own results were telling them. We are trying to accelerate the implementation cycle with private equity.

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 BIG thanks for your generosity and vote of confidence in our work.

And on to more troublemaking in the upcoming year!

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  1. Skippy

    How can I debase myself anymore than 8ish years of defective commenting… here…

    Well never stopped myself before.

    Ahhh… Naked Crapification*…. the blog where, in my not so humble opinion, started the push back in earnest against not only failed ideology [neoliberalism], but did what no other information blog or media platform has done…. create a space for – introspection – of not only rarefied air that is/was* economics [ideological], financial innovation, political maleficence, but, the distillation of what is too be – human – contextualized by accurate or best approximation of – historical evidence.

    None of this, absolutely none of it would have happened without our hostess. Her intellectual rigor and delft hand at moderating, which allowed conflict and resolution without stifling, tho could pull the trigger when absolutely necessary [I have scars to prove it]. Not to mention the stream of information, what other platform even comes close, which makes it an invaluable tool in providing a counter to the main stream narrative.

    Then to put it over the top we have the top shelf quality’s of Lambert and associated guests, tirelessly attempting to strip of the veneer off the narrative – so – everyone – can have an opportunity to not only think for themselves, but think of us…

    Skippy… methinks it was time well allocated…. better for it… especially because some of it pains me…

    1. ambrit

      Right on skippy. I’ve had to ‘look deep within’ myself when commenting here too.
      “Smiling through the pain” does sum it up well.

      1. Skippy

        “Smiling through the pain”

        Its a good approximation of the process, albeit my preferred phrase would be “grim determination”, something our hostess exudes in spades, having seen some of her early works before she stated this blog e.g early pod casts and industry papers.

        She is the same person then – intrinsically – as she was then, that’s something a person like me and my background can evaluate with a positive amount of certainty, a rare quality these days and a rare premium worth more than some fleeting nominal value. The most emphatic bit is she will change if sufficient evidence is presented, tho will contextualize it with the currant reality, as one must.

        Skippy…. I am better for it all…. and that is something money can’t buy….

      1. Skippy

        You are too kind to this defective marsupial, important methinks not, just another villager assisting the Seven or possibly the sorta defective one of the Seven.

        Skippy…. anywho… the cries one can get for linking NC, from the usual stripes, w/o countervailing argument based on more than – I say so – is priceless… Cheers!

  2. vlade

    it’s been that long already? I said it before and will say it again, your willingness to tell off for bulshit right and left, without fear or favour is rare and precious. long may it continue.

    1. EmilianoZ

      A patriot is he who supports the republic completely; whoever opposes it in the details is a traitor.

      Louis Antoine de Saint-Just

  3. allan

    Congratulations! Many thanks to Yves, Lambert and everyone for
    one of the most informative sites on the web.

  4. tinman

    Congrats to Yves and NC! I’ve learned a lot reading over the years and have come to really despise finance capitalism and its amoral Wall Street parasites. A Thom Yorke lyric goes something like “If I were king, you’d be first up against the wall.”

  5. run75441

    Quelle Surprise:

    NC is 9 years old. That is a long time in blogging years. What is it 7 years aging for the first 3 years of existence and then three years for every year afterwards? I cut my teeth over at Slate’s Best of The Fray about 2001 and there are still many of us around even after Slate went commercial and messed things up. Writing catches on fast and even more so when there are things needed to be said.

    I could never figure out how you could be so prolific in posting so many interesting articles on numerous topics. Mine come out whenever, however, and when Mars, Jupiter, and Venus can be seen in the eastern sky observed while traveling to work.

    Like I said Yves, take care of yourself as you would be sorely missed out here.

    1. OIFVet

      I was about to ask how to convert blog years into human years :) Happy B-day NC, and thank you for the hard work day in and day out.

  6. Barry Fay

    Between Naked Capitalism and Tom Dispatch a person actually has a chance to find out what is REALLY GOIN On! Thanks a million (I´d send the dollars if had ´em!)

  7. kokuanani

    Happy Birthday and congratulations. Like many others, I head to you FIRST after turning on my computer. Only problem is that the interesting articles and comments here take up more of my day that I might have intended.

    Over the past couple of years I’ve tried to alert others to the value of NC. I hope increased readership [as well as $$$ support] reflect my small contribution.

    I still get a laugh whenever I’m at a “public” computer [library, hotel] and am blocked from a site with “Naked” in its name. If they only knew.

    Felicitations, Yves & Lambert

  8. perpetualWAR

    Just the other day, I was out speaking with a retail clerk regarding the state of the world. She asked me where would she find the news and information that I had shared? I told her right away “head over to Naked Capitalism.”

  9. Eclair

    Happy 9th birthday and a heart-felt ‘thank-you’ to all whose dedication, intelligence and determination make naked capitalism the best blog in the universe. Each morning I must have: 1) caffeine and , 2) naked capitalism.

  10. JCC


    I can’t say whether this is the “best” financial site on the ‘net, but I can say that it’s the site I read first thing every day. And I can confidently say that it forced a lifestyle change on me – it’s the reason I now get up at least an hour earlier than I used to in order to get in all the posts. It hasn’t helped, I still arrive at work a little late… and the commententariat hasn’t helped :)

    I thank you all.

  11. Bunk McNulty

    Long long ago, while a student at what used to be called the Graduate School of Business at NYU, I was fed a lot of free market propaganda, and not knowing otherwise, lapped it up. Many years later I stumbled upon this site, read ECONNED, and saw the light. Thank you Yves, and thanks to all who help make Naked Capitalism go.

  12. Lo

    Happy Birthday and thank you. When Bear Stearns imploded I looked up from my mundane reality and said “what just happened”. Since then I have known I am living through historically important moments, and done what I could to try to understand. As a thoughtful space for conversation, this blog is second to none.

  13. Mucho

    The site has been invaluable to me in analyzing public and financial affairs. Plus, it’s a joy to read. Happy birthday!

  14. knowbuddhau

    Happy birthday!

    When I first came here, I was sure I knew how it all worked: economic hit men! Deep State! I’ve learned that it’s not that simple.

    Early on in my visits here, there were a lot of articles by the likes of Pilkington, examining the religious/non-rational nature of economics itself. I enjoyed those immensely.

    I still think there’s the real, covert intention for economic policy, and the cover story – the way it’s sold and explained to the public. The latter often makes no sense.

    The image I get is of a big bus, with Uncle Sam at the wheel. All the windows are video, maybe holographic screens. Uncle Sam’s helpers project a Disneyesque landscape onto the screens. Much of what passes for public discourse relates to the fake reality, while the driver has his sights on the promised land of Full-Spectrum Dominance, ever receding just over the six-month horizon. Hilarity ensues.

    Naked Capitalism opens the windows. It invites views from those not under the influence of Uncle Sam’s illusions. For that indispensable service, I’m much obliged.

    But it’s not just that. I find here the community I lack irl. Just when I think no one cares about my becoming yet more roadkill on the TINA highway to hell, someone goes and says something human, all too human, and I’m saved from despair. For that, I bow in all y’all’s virtual directions.

  15. JustAnObserver

    As with all above. Super happy Birthday. May NC last long enough to see the whole cake covered in candles.

    Just one thing thing I’d like to add to all wonderful effects this site has. One that rarely gets mentioned but, to me at least, is the 3rd leg after the posts & comments.

    The booklist that builds up from all the references on this site is just amazing. Not just via Yves and the other contributors to this site (a special shout for ECONNED) but from references by the commentariat. Just reading a few of them is – or should be – enough to show the neolib narrative for what it truely is.

  16. Ulysses

    Happy Birthday!! The truly remarkable aspect of this blog is its commitment to questioning authority and challenging “conventional wisdom.” NC raises important questions, and allows readers to struggle towards their own answers. What amazes me most is how often even small points, made in a given post or comment, will stimulate very deep, provocative conversations!

    Like a good potluck dinner, the daily feast of NC surpasses anything that one mere mortal could prepare. Abynormal recently shared with us the most apposite quotation for this momentous occasion, from Marcel Proust:

    “Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”


  17. Paul Tioxon

    Congrats and thanks NC, for letting me curse on occasion without feeling guilty. And by the way, you don’t look a day over 8 years old. How do you do it?

  18. Foy

    Happy 9th Birthday Yves and NC. I’m still dumbfounded where you get the time and energy to produce all the quality posts, peruse and compile daily links and still keep your sanity. Blows my mind. But then again you “eat stress for breakfast”. That’s one of your great lines. Thanks for the last nine years!

  19. Jeff W

    Happy Birthday, Yves and Naked Capitalism! Congratulations on nine terrific years (and many years to come)!

  20. Mike Clifford

    Very impressed. I have bobbed in and out over the years and always learnt a lot. Keep up the good work. bbc10.com (nothing to do with the bbc – a mere satire)

  21. fresno dan

    Certainly NC has informed me on a number of critical issues and caused me to change my view on a substantial number of them. Thank you for this important public service. (I am a little late because my internet service was out….)

    Happy birthday to you*, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Naked capitalism. Who knows how many extra readers you would have hadif my friends (I use the term advisedly) had thought you were a financial blog and not another porn site I frequent….que sera sera….

    * Based on the 1935 copyright registration, Warner claimed that the United States copyright will not expire until 2030, and that unauthorized public performances of the song are technically illegal unless royalties are paid to Warner. In one specific instance in February 2010, these royalties were said to amount to US$700.[

  22. MarcoPolo

    I’ve been following since before that gig with the Milkin Institute where found out Yves was a girl – surely more than 8 yrs. I’ve learned other things since. Happy birthday. And tks to all who contribute.

  23. Sluggeaux

    Happy Birthday to the blog and congratulations to Yves and company on creating this enduring bastion of sanity in a world otherwise gone mad.

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