By Matt Stoller, a fellow at the Open Markets Institute and author of the forthcoming book Goliath: The 100-Year War Between Monopoly Power and Democracy
Yves Smith looks around corners before the rest of us get there. She was premature on the financial crisis in 2006, on mortgage-backed securities/Magnetar, on the foreclosure fraud crisis, on the Eurozone, on the failure of Syriza, on private equity, and on the “crapification” of American corporations.
She’s early, she’s right, and she’s clear. But in D.C., where I live and work, she’s anything but celebrated. In fact, as we’ve seen, people like Yves, and many of you, are attacked and demeaned for telling the truth.
In the case of Naked Capitalism, the problem is increasingly Google and Facebook undermining web traffic and killing advertising revenue. When society becomes a game of getting to the top by shooting the messenger, what happens is… the Boeing 737 Max.
By reading this, you are saying that you choose to spend your time and your mind on things that matter, as opposed to the nonsense and bullshit that exists in so much of our world. We have to support our own. And that means throwing some coin to Yves and her crew of merry truth-tellers: Lambert and Jerri-Lynn. Remember, guest contributors like Hubert Horan with his series on Uber’s financial snake oil come here because readers like you are here. You can donate here.
If you can’t afford anything, you can still help by spreading the word about Naked Capitalism by telling friends and family, circulating important stories, posting links on Facebook and other social media.
But if you can afford to give, please give, and if you can afford to give a a lot, give a lot. Naked Capitalism is an invaluable enterprise, though not a lucrative for Yves and the people who work with her. I can assure you Yves doesn’t bracingly fight the most powerful institutions in the world for the money. She does it because she can’t help but hate bullies in suits, and because she wants to serve you, her readers. You can make her job a little easier by donating via the Tip Jar, which tells you how to give by debit card, credit card, or check.
There’s an expression that many people during the anti-Communist witch-hunts used to describe people like her, which is a ‘premature anti-fascist.’ It comes from the relationship that people who opposed fascism in the 1930s had with the McCarthy period a little over a decade later.
You would think that who had fought against Nazis during the Spanish-American war in the late 1930s would be celebrated, right? Just a few years later, after all, over a hundred thousand Americans perished in a war against the genocidal Nazis, but if the West had listened to the anti-fascists of the late 1930s, it might have been possible to stop them earlier.
But no. That is not how power works. Those who were opposed fascism too early were later attacked and destroyed by Joseph McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover years later because they stood for economic and political justice, and it was easy to pin the label ‘Communist’ on them. In reality the Red Scare had little to do with Communist penetration of American institutions, but was a veiled attack by the forces of order and privilege on those who sought to modify the status quo to make it a little more just.
Yves Smith would have been a premature anti-fascist. She’s discussing the core problems that *matter* today. Like private equity and surprise billing, how the Fed has been screwing up, and how the crapification of the corporation led to the Boeing airline fiasco. She’s been on CalPERS for years.
The world is beginning to turn in our direction. Big tech is under investigation, Americans increasingly see climate change as a crisis, and Trump has both forced Democrats to reckon with their own corruption as well as beginning to sink due to his own misbehavior. Soon we will have to start following the breadcrumb trail that Yves, and all of you in reading and commenting, have helped lay down. And that is heroic.
So give, and give big if you can. You can donate here, at the Tip Jar.
It’s been years, but we can’t stop now. We’re on the cusp of a great renewal, a great era when our quiet intellectual rebellion in this corner of the world spirals outward into a rebellion for justice.