KLG: What Naked Capitalism Means to Me

By KLG, who has held research and academic positions in three US medical schools since 1995 and is currently Professor of Biochemistry and Associate Dean. He has performed and directed research on protein structure, function, and evolution; cell adhesion and motility; the mechanism of viral fusion proteins; and assembly of the vertebrate heart. He has served on national review panels of both public and private funding agencies, and his research and that of his students has been funded by the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, and National Institutes of Health

My introduction to Naked Capitalism came through ECONned: How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism by one Yves Smith, who was identified as the “Creator of Naked Capitalism.”  Hmm…Naked Capitalism?  That sounded about right to me.  As Lambert would agree, “We all have our priors!”

Yes, I was too young for the New Left but old enough to realize the Old Left still had something substantial to offer.  I became a “socialist” of sorts when I was about 10 years old while watching Walter Cronkite with the CBS News at 6:30 every weekday.  The news segment that opened my eyes was “Giant corporation lays off a thousand workers, Wall Street rejoices as their stock rises sharply,” a story repeated thousands of times since then.  That was evil then, it is evil now.

By my early twenties I found myself tolerated as one of the very few outlanders among the “New York-ites” (their sometime ironic and humorous term for themselves) in the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, a predecessor of the Democratic Socialists of America.  There I met Michael Harrington and Irving Howe, Deborah Meier and Ruth Messinger, James Farmer (a cofounder of the Congress of Racial Equality), and a union representative by the name of Nat Weinberg who reminded me of my father and his coworkers, all of them (Southern!) union chemical workers whom I got to know in nine months of working in a heavy chemical plant after graduation from high school.  I also saw William Winpisinger of the International Association of Machinists, Doug Fraser of the UAW, and Vic Gotbaum of AFSCME District Council 37 from across the room in the AFSCME offices near the World Trade Center.  And at a party on the Upper West Side, where I mostly stood with my back to the wall, Gloria Steinem.  But I digress.

Anyway, I found nakedcapitalism.com, bookmarked it as my Firefox homepage, and the number of days in the past twelve years that I missed checking in are very few..  It was immediately apparent to me that what we get from Naked Capitalism is honesty.  And with that honesty comes a truth, from the contributors and the commenters.  Both of these groups are unsurpassed in their wisdom and humor, and while our truth is not necessarily the truth, its fundamental honesty provides the foundation necessary for addressing the severe problems the neoliberal project has wrought as a political economy in which the people exist for the economy rather than the economy existing for the people. So please, support this important endeavor by going to the Tip Jar to contribute.

For a long time, I was a lurker, then an occasional commenter, and as COVID-19 emerged as a full-blown pandemic a more frequent commenter on the so-called “science” behind our response to COVID-19.  On occasion Yves would ask me to respond to a comment about the pandemic.  I then became a regular of sorts in backstage discussions of COVID-19.  Although I am a member of the “brain trust,” I am distinctly junior to IM Doc, GM, and Ignacio.

During this summer I volunteered to become a regular after the irreplaceable Jerri-Lynn decided to retire, and Yves and Lambert agreed.  Over the past two months it has been my great privilege to contribute several posts on the importance of scientific research and our use and abuse of science in various and sundry ways.  I look forward to continuing this series and perhaps branching out a bit.  After all, we do live in a target-rich environment.

I remain a monthly subscriber/contributor to Naked Capitalism.  We, all of us, are an essential, independent component of a challenging news environment.  If you are in a position to contribute, please do.  Naked Capitalism provides a foundation for hope, if not necessarily optimism, and this depends on all of us pitching in as we can. The Tip Jar beckons! Whether $5, $50, or $5000, all donations help Naked Capitalism thrive!

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8 comments

  1. Ignacio

    A small correction: You are not junior to anybody. You have your distinct priors, experiences and views. All of them valuable and you can teach any of us a few things. At least I don’t feel any seniority and it would be a mistake by my part.

    Best regards,

    Reply
  2. Lambert Strether

    What KLG does comes under the heading of “Original Reporting,” which is one reason NC exists, and one reason you find it worth reading. Long may that continue. So I’d like to see that Thermometer pop. The Tip Jar is to your right.

    Reply

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