By vlade, Naked Capitalism’s longest-standing member of the commentariat
September 14 just past was 11 years to a day since I posted my first comment on Naked Capitalism – which makes me officially the longest serving commenter. But I had been reading NC before I started to comment although I don’t know since when; my dim recollection it was a link from another esteemed website, Interfluidity, on CDOs, a topic Yves eventually mastered despite the fact that it was arcane and very secretive. In fact, it became my daily go-to page.
The reason for that is simple. Yves was a rarity in 2007, and Naked Capitalism is even a greater rarity today. It’s a site which wants to pursue the truth – and not the one and only ideological truth, but the real one, which, at times will be most unpleasant even to Yves’s side – but without which we can’t move on. So please give and give generously, the Tip Jar tells you how.
In these days of easy words and meaningless metaphors, massive startups achieving nothing but lies (here’s to you, Theranos…) get labeled unicorns. To me, Naked Capitalism is more of a real unicorn – magical, rarely seen, but life-changing for those who get to see it – than those startups ever were. It changes lives, not just of us, the community, but of people who never heard of NC, and maybe never will – most recently by relentlessly pursuing CalPERS’ dodgy dealings, but the examples over the decade are countless: private equity chicanery, inadequate post crisis “reforms,” mortgage and chain of title abuses, ObamaCare’s failed promise, austerity, the 2015 Greece bailout, crapification, and Brexit.
Yves is dedicated to keeping the magic alive by literally sacrificing a big chunk of her life, and she’s been fortunate in finding like-minded and dedicated fellow writers, such as Matt Stoller and Ed Harrison in the early days of the site, and Lambert, Jerri-Lynn, and Hubert Horan more recently. But it needs still more to keep the magic alive. NC has none of the resources that the false unicorns have, no VCs pouring money into it left, right, and center, on the assumption that they’ll be able to get out while the getting is still good.
It needs us, the community that built over the decade here, to contribute, to care and nurture. Not only in comments, as we do on daily basis, but in much mundane ways. After all, even unicorns must be fed, and just running NC takes money – not a lot of money compared to traditional media, but a lot compared to what an ad market dominated by Google and Facebook provides.
So please give generously to keep the magic of NC around, and, if we are lucky, even expand. There are many more deserving targets Naked Capitalism could take on if it had more money. Keeping real unicorns around is well worth it – and if we don’t take care of them, we don’t deserve them. So whatever you can give, whether $10 or $1000, helps keeps this special and vital beast going at full speed.
I came to NC in late 2008, after the devastation started to become apparent to all of us. I had been working at a TBTF for a number of years prior as a “fungible” software engineer, knowing next to nothing about finance or what it had been getting up to for the past decade or two. When the crash began I said to myself, “I need to know what it is I’ve been aiding and abetting the past 4 years”, and almost immediately I found NC. It answered so many questions and then more I didn’t know I had, and has continued to do so for a decade now. And what a decade its been. I’ve suffered, less than many, and some years haven’t been able to give as much as I wanted to keep this place alive. For it is my home on the internet. Its the only place I actually miss if I don’t visit at least once a day and still learn and keep abreast of the latest travails of the neoliberal disaster that’s still unfolding. When Lambert started adding his brilliant insight and hilarious commentary, and his humanity, it just got better. And of course all the guest posters, some “hoisted from comments” as Yves likes to say, who are so keen and bright. So anyway, luckily things are looking up this year for us and I’ve been able to give more than usual. I plan to keep on doing so throughout the year and anyone who feels even remotely the way I do should give what they can.
Cheers to everyone and most especially Yves and Lambert.
I agree. How long it lasts is up to us.
Well said. Its quite something to be the longest serving commentator here!
Deep searching google I found my first comments were in 2010. But i know I started reading the site long before that. I want to say I found it through a link on Calculated Risk, probably late 2007… I was reading obsessively about the housing bubble. I found Credit Writedowns around the same time. I started reading those sites because I had been listening to the Thom Hartmann show on Air America every day, and he was talking to all sorts of economists with alternative views of what was really happening. Ravi Batra and Nuriel Roubini. I remember that show is what made me move my meager 401K savings out of stocks and into a stable fund. I only lost 10% in the crash, while my parents (in the same corporate fund) lost 40%. I also remember ‘Brunch with Bernie’ every week. THAT is what made me a Bernie fan. He has been remarkably consistent in his economic views since then. I read a lot of Krugman then too. He appeared more sane back then.
It is fun to try and trace it back and remember how i started here…Thanks again to the site and to commenters like vlade who keep me coming back.
Thanks vlade. I showed up sometime in ’08 I think, after krugman mentioned nc and calculated risk as places to go to be informed about the mysteries of finance, I believe he mentioned the robust comment section, but I’ve never been able to locate that particular blog post (“conscience of a liberal”) At the time I felt krugman was very informative, but that seemed to me to end with the obama/krugman/stiglitz meet up sometime post election of that same year. CR no longer has a comment section, but before it ended I had mostly migrated here because you had to be a pretty quick thinker over there, it was pretty vibrant, but then it became too chatty (imo it was trolled out of existence) with off topic blather. I did not donate at first, but now I fear losing NC and now make a dollar a day donation divided 60/40 between the main site and water cooler. It’s not too much to ask that we throw down some dough to keep the place and it’s operators a going concern. Thanks Yves, Lambert Jeri-Lynn Outis Jules and any others behind the scenes as well as the comment section for many years of critical thinking.
I also arrived on NC in the early days – either late 2007 or early 2008. I only started posting a few years later, and still do so only when I think I have something particular to contribute from my knowledge and experience. But it has been part of my daily life ever since: it’s the first site I look at in the morning and the last I look at in the evening.
How you view NC depends in part how old you are, and I’d like to put in a special word on behalf of the postwar generation. I grew up in a world where poverty and unemployment were for the most part words in dictionaries, even if there remained things to be done, where health and education were free and where we looked towards the future with optimism. The economics I studied was rather like engineering – press here to go faster, press here to slow down.
I watched with horror and disbelief, from inside and later outside government, as all these things were deliberately destroyed in the name of short-term rent-seeking. But what was worse was the creeping ideological change that came over economic theory, and which produced policies and theories that seemed to me to be literally insane, and from whose failure nobody ever learned anything. It was as if space flight had been taken over by a group of astrologers, or motor cars were being constructed according to the principles in Aristotle’s Physics. I started to wonder whether I was the only one person in the world, searching vainly around the media for intelligent and realistic discussion of these issues. After all, they couldn’t all be wrong, could they?
And then I stumbled across NC, and felt a sense of enormous relief. If I was insane, there were others like me, and others, indeed, better informed and able to express themselves more clearly. The thought that perhaps I was right (ish) all along, and am in good company with my heresies, is one of the things that makes life easier.
As I said when we were discussing Clive’s article on information, what’s at stake here is a Gramscian war of position. Such wars are not won, unfortunately, by arguments or facts, because psychologists have found that people cling more fiercely to their beliefs when challenged. They are won by changing the climate of opinion, which means numbers of people, especially in influential positions. This is the real value of what NC does: a change in mindset. If we can achieve that, then much of the rest follows. Who knows, we might even get back to where we were in 1970, say, and move forward from there.
Speaking of Magic, i wish NC could come up with a HELVETICA DABRA death curse for shitty financial instruments!
I have no clue when i first came here, but i know its after i figured out Balloon Juice and Daily Kos were TOTAL FUCKING GARBAGE.
I too came to NC in the early days, before the explosive bubble, reading everything about the problems our economy faced. Not much in the way of language I could understand. Not being trained in the econ speak, I had the trusty dictionary to explain the language I didn’t understand. Now thanks to all the good work of NC, I feel like I have a PHD in the way economics work in the US and to some extent elsewhere.
I use to read Nouriel Roubini, pre-bubble Krugman, Calculated Risk, etc., however now I get most of my daily readings from NC.
Also we have been to 4 meetups with Lambert & Yves. Burlington Vt., Montreal, Philadelphia, and NYC.
Looking forward to more.
Please keep up the good work, we are forever grateful. We sent a check yesterday. Tip Jar