Our 2022 fundraiser starts today. If you know you want to give, please go directly to the Tip Jar, which tells you how to support us via check, credit or debit card, and then come back pronto! We will be very grateful! And we also very much appreciate those of you who played early-bird and have already contributed. We will count your donations in our tally.
We like to play Janus at this juncture: look back over the past year and into our crystal ball.
If someone in 2006, when we started this blog, had written up some of the events to come, no one would have believed them. Oh, perhaps an epic financial crash would be plausible….but massive bailouts with no accountability? Millions of preventable foreclosures? Globalist elites using trade treaties to gut national laws and regulations?
Add to that, the US continuing its Middle East nation-breaking, to the benefit of no-one save the US military-intel complex?
Donald Trump becoming President, and the Democrats even before he took office trying to undermine his legitimacy and then spending two years on an investigation to nowhere? And having turned the knobs to 11 for years and demonized his supporters, Trump opponents are surprised they’ve unleashed forces they can’t control? Deteriorating health, from Covid deaths shrugged off and the world ex China a big disease reservoir, to an ongoing high level of opioid deaths, as well as a marked rise in gun fatalities?
And grinding relentlessly in the background, global warming going from a possible big problem in 2100 to an imminent threat in the 2020s: water shortages and pervasive wildfires in the US West, crop shortfalls and scorching heatwaves in Europe, and mass flooding in Asia, yet with the officialdom doing virtually nothing to arrest the destructive path?
Last year, we described this trajectory as early stage collapse.
The wheels came off in 2022. The decay path is steeper than all but the gloomiest might have imagined. The US is detonating its hegemony out of hubris and stupidity, and ay high environmental and social cost to boot. Western ruling classes truly and deeply believe that every problem can be solved by better propaganda. They are thus allergic to meat-world problems like the corrosive effects of an unchecked pandemic, supply chain breakdowns, betting your military on over-engineered wunderwaffen that aren’t reliable in battle, and now widespread. potentially crippling energy shortages now that winter is coming.
After months of the West refusing to negotiate or even implement a 2014 solution to the civil war in Ukraine, Russia went to war on the side of Donbass republics. The US got the conflict it wanted, but not with a Russia it had assessed properly. In an outcome Russia could not have dreamed would occur, the military response and even more so, economic sanctions blowback, are accelerating the end of US dominance. The West is sending money and weapons into a burn pit in Ukraine.
The US and its allies are also wrecking their economies due to being unwilling to climb down from their self-harming sanctions. Unless Germany works out soon with Russia how to get normal gas supplies, not only will its citizens go cold this winter, but many businesses will shutter permanently, resulting in not a mere recession but a full blown depression.
And the US is acting as if the economic crippling of Europe is a matter of no concern, when pressure on energy markets and loss of EU manufacturing will amp up our already destructive and destabilizing inflation. If European banks implode, the US financial system will be pulled into the vortex.
Even worse, the open displays of colonial-cringe support for blonde, blue-eyed Ukrainians versus the indifference to US inflicted or supported deaths of Iraqis, Palestinians, Syrians, Libyans, and Yemenis helped crystalize quiet but resolute opposition by key countries like China, India, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa to pressure from US to side with them. And it’s not as if access to fertilizer, key commodities, and discounted Russian oil didn’t factor into these decisions.
India entered into a wide-ranging economic deal with Russia, as has Turkey. Russia is also increasing its ties with Iran. In a further humiliation for the US, not only has Saudi Arabia refused to pump meaningfully more oil to help the US with high oil prices, it has now entered into a major trade and investment pact with China…and will likely make a point of avoiding using the dollar. In another sign of the rapid fall in US influence, more and more countries, not just Iran and Argentina, but now also Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt, are considering joining the BRICs.
We’ll skip over the pointless provocation of China over Taiwan, save to observe that even the doggedly pro-US Financial Times acknowledged in a headline last week that US has ‘no good options’ on Taiwan as China resets status quo. Um, China did warn, in no uncertain terms, that there would be serious consequences if Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit went ahead. But the US seems incapable of respecting clearly-presented red lines.
These fractures in the geopolitical order are generating desperate, profligate efforts to deploy non-Russian energy sources, no matter how inefficient or carbon-costly they are. So Poles will be burning even dirtier coal to get through the winter. LNG is the new hot ticket, even though fracking releases methane and requires water, another critical resource under stress. Needless to say, transporting LNG by ship is inefficient compared to gas by pipeline. And there’s the wee problem that most LNG produced now is already subject to long-term contracts, it takes time to ramp up new output…and tankers are in short supply and their makers already have full order books.
Just before the Labor Day weekend, the West has doubled down on its delusions, with the G7 stating that it is proceeding with its plan to cap the price of Russian oil, this after Russia has said it simply won’t sell oil and petroleum products to countries that cap its oil price.
It appears that Western and European efforts to control resources (the US nation-breaking exercises in the Middle East, sanctions of Iran and Venezuela, the demonization of Putin and efforts to destabilize Russia after Putin and his allies stopped Western looting and significantly renationalizing Russian energy producers) are finally up against opponents they can’t overwhelm or sufficiently corrupt. And this unfortunate loss of influence (from the Western perspective) is happening just when competition for resources has become far more acute, with far bigger stakes (witness the energy catastrophe facing Europe this winter).
And with these seismic events abroad, the winds of change are blowing fiercely in the US as well. The overturn of Roe v. Wade. The continuing efforts to end Trump as a political force, both by the Never Trump Republicans and the Administration. And last but far from least, the ravages of Covid, with the US putting in a “worst in class” performance among wealthy and even middle-income nations. The officialdom continues to give recklessly awful advice, bizarrely indifferent to the evidence of failure: falling life expectancy (now below China!), labor shortages and supply chain problems due to Covid cases and Long Covid, and increasing evidence of rising health costs with more infections.
When more energy is pumped into a system, it reaches the point where it undergoes a state change and becomes less ordered. Ice melts to water. Water becomes steam. It’s not hard to see structures starting to crack. But when a state change occurs, the system goes chaotic compared to before.
It’s not hard to see that economic and political conditions will soon trigger an economic crisis, likely soon followed by a political crisis in Europe unless something breaks in EU leadership soon, as opposed to broader society later. And with the appallingly poor quality of leadership in the US and Europe, it’s not as if anyone has the imagination or ability to change course.
This would all be wonderfully exciting, like watching a volcano blow, if we all didn’t have to live with the consequences. But that’s where Naked Capitalism comes in.
What passes for news and analysis today is overwhelmingly polluted by propaganda. Our soi-disant leaders try sweeping problems under rugs, to the degree that they are lumpy and even starting to move, or blame the Evil Putin rather than assess and address complex issues in a systemaic manner. But they are symbol manipulators rather than problem solvers. If they can makes things look good in a press release, PowerPoint, or in Excel, mission accomplished!
But to make sound decisions, you need to have good information. Naked Capitalism has developed a globe- and expertise-spanning community that is deeply interested in getting to the bottom of things, from mortgage securitizations and foreclosure abuses to crypto to Covid developments and protective measures to permaculture and beer recipes. And thanks to your invaluable information collecting, screening, aggregation and sometimes course-correcting, we keep adding new beats, covering vastly more ground than we used to, despite having what amounts to 1.7 full time writer equivalents. If you value this informational heavy lifting, please go straight to the Tip Jar and give generously.
Our hallmark status of being early and accurate comes from the ongoing process of testing information and reasoning. Naked Capitalism was one of the first to describe that Donald Trump had paths to an election win. We recognized that the yawning chasm between UK and EU positions would produce repeated impasses during the Brexit negotiations. We were alarmed by the Biden Administration escalating with China when that could only produce a crisis over Taiwan where neither the US nor Taiwan were likely to prevail. And we’ve been ahead of the curve on other significant topics, like water shortages and the growing encroachment of the surveillance state. As readers have often said, reading Naked Capitalism is like getting next month’s news today.
Naked Capitalism has long straddled a position few occupy, providing both hot takes and near think tank-level analysis. A few of many recent examples: Nick Corbishley on the war on cash and Mexican president AMLO bucking American directives; Lambert on #CovidIsAirborne and the implosion of the Democratic Party, KLG on corruption in medical and bioscience research, and Jerri-Lynn on India reorienting its foreign policy in a multi-polar world, and John McGregor and Conor Gallagher opening new beats on European, Turkish, and Pacific politics. Yours truly correctly anticipated how the “gas for roubles” mechanism would work, and has continued to provide in-depth coverage of the economic war with Russia.
We’d like to do more. We’d like to do it even better. Imagine how much trouble we could cause if we ever got our hands on some real money!
Please support our efforts. Give whatever you can, whether it’s $5, $50, or $5,000, via our Tip Jar. Even a small donation helps us meet our fundraising goals. If you are one of the winners in this two-tier Covid economy, please give generously, particularly on behalf of loyal readers who are under stress and aren’t able to donate as much as they’d like to.
And if you aren’t able to make a financial contribution, rest assured there are other ways to help! More than ever, we depend on all of you to promote Naked Capitalism and bring in more readers. You can help by sending articles, Links, and Water Cooler to potentially receptive friends, family members, and colleagues, by linking to our posts on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, talking up the site, making comments and sending cute animal photos.
In our accompanying kickoff post, we what your donations will fund and will tell you when we’ve hit each of these monetary goals. Our first goal is $23,000 for digital infrastructure essentials. That may not sound very sexy, but this is our plumbing. When your plumbing is not working, I bet you notice! We’ve increased it from last year because we’ve moved to a new host (yeah better performance but nothing is free) and we’ve also been clearing out some overdue tasks. High on our list was geting another payment platform besides PayPal. We pushed our new host/code wrangler Dave to get one boarded by the fundraiser…only to find some deal-killers at the 11th hour.
We particularly like checks! No processor fees! And that should make those of you allergic to PayPal happy. You can give via check made out to “Aurora Advisors Incorporated,” sent to:
Aurora Advisors Incorporated
164 Peachtree Circle
Mountain Brook, AL 35213
Be sure to let us know if you have sent a check so we can add your contribution to our fundraiser tally. Please send an e-mail with the subject line, “Check is in the mail” with the $ amount, to email@example.com. Be warned that it may take a while to deposit them between the state of the postal service and my liking to deposit big batches of checks in person (and our bank is not local). I hope any delay in depositing your generous checks does not mess up your bookkeeping.
You can also use the Tip Jar to donate by credit card, debit card, or PayPal. Please note PayPal allows you to use your regular credit or debit card.
We also want to warn you: as much as we feel very guilty about it, we lack the capacity to thank donors individually. Or to put it another way, with our thin staffing, we’d have to cut way back on posting to be able to do that. We hope you forgive us for having to give top priority to continuing to generate the content you appreciate so much.
Again, we hope you’ll support our work in ways big and small. You’ve helped us build a community, and with your continued backing, we aspire to make it even better in the coming year.
Just tipped the jar. Always grateful that I am able to offer some modest financial, as well as heartfelt moral, support to Yves, Lambert and the whole Naked Capitalism crew, including the remarkable commentariat.
NC is my only online subscription to this day. I wish I could pay more, and will if my circumstances change.
Also, as Yves wrote:
I have just tried donating but there is no “donate” button.
Thanks for the willingness to help! Please click on the link in the post or use the Donate link at the Tip Jar (under the snow leopards in the right column).
For overseas residents for whom PayPal is not an option, would it be possible to send something via wise.com?
That’s a very good question. Let us mull on it.
I sent you guys a check like 2 years ago. It never cleared my bank. 2 years ago. I would like to support the present fundraiser and I would prefer to send a check but want to be sure it reaches you…
I am so sorry we missed your contribution! Every fundraiser, we get one or two checks we can’t deposit: not made out to Aurora Advisors Incorporated (I can’t deposit ones made out in the name of Yves Smith or Naked Capitalism), not signed, mistakenly dated for the year before, or the $ in numbers does not agree with the $ in words. One got mangled by a sorting machine. Since we typically can’t match the name on a check to an e-mail address, we can’t ask our generous prospective donor to resend.
I hope you aren’t put off and will try again.
Maybe people can write their email address in the memo section of the check.
It wasn’t much moolah. Cash flow not good at the time. Maybe I did something wrong. Will try again this time.
Just tipped. Did so too when I first found this great site back in June.
I do not agree with every element of the editorial position on all topics but that is perfectly fine. This is the most wide ranging and thoughtful commentary, news, prediction and aggregation site that I am aware of. The comments are also typically high quality and the moderators take time to engage thoughtfully too.
Keep up the great work!
I would like to donate, but PayPal says donations from Japan are not accepted. I’ve had no problem using PayPal on other sites, so I’m not sure what the problem is. Luckily, I managed to setup a monthly donation a few years ago, so I am contributing a little, but not as much you deserve.
Let me call PayPal again. There are supposed to be no blocks on foreign donations. PayPal will try to blame it on the user’s bank but if you’ve used the same credit or debit card before on PP and it’s not working now, it’s on them.
It’s a holiday in the US so not sure if they are working the normal hours today. Please give this a couple of days.
I’ve had this problem for a couple of years which is why I suggested wise.com as an alternative. For your reference the exact message I get is
This translates out to Donations to this recipient are not supported in this country. So PayPal’s own messaging is blaming the country, not the bank.
Last year I even wrote to PayPal about this and got no response. And I’ve never had this problem anywhere else.
NC is by a very long distance the best, most reliable guide to what is happening to the world. I’ve thought this for years, but after being bombarded the last 6 months with a relentless barrage of naked lies and outright stupidity over Ukraine I feel this even more strongly now.
I’m having a few problems with my Paypal at the moment, but as soon as its sorted I’ll be making my annual donation, its as much as I can afford and I’d appeal to everyone to give generously – its all the more important these days to have some isolated islands of rational analysis and discourse.
Smaller amounts recently… fighting a private equity landlord, a slow, painful fight: Sam the attorney, next the New York State Commission on Human Rights for housing discrimination,
and, most recently, the Manhattan DA’s bureau of Financial Fraud. Most of the city’s tenant
organizations exist to make one believe something can be done. This is not even at the level of the finger in dyke more but like Lucy pulling the football away from Linus. The Dept of Buildings and HPD are hopelessly corrupt and housing court is not on the side of the tenants.
Potentially more useful was the recent phone conversation with the local NY Fire Dept. captain.
“If something like that happens again call me, and after we arrive, should you be correct, we will call the cops to have the person on the roof arrested.” This building was already on their radar due to the discovery of an illegally installed gas line in a basement apartment.
Oh dear, as Spock might have said, “Fascinating.” And as our Lambert has often said,
“Wonderfully clarifying.” Thanks for this, I will be scrutinizing our probably similar tenant organizations.
Thank you, Yves, Lambert, Conor and John, and, recently, Jerri-Lynn.
Just contributed and delighted to so.
I echo what PK said above and add it’s not just Ukraine.
I began reading* NC in the spring of 2008, following a link from the Grauniad (still respectable then and some years from banning me / my socialist heresy) and having just moved into regulatory and trade policy at a City trade body. It was half a dozen or so years before I started commenting. I reckon that it’s the same with many readers.
*Religiously so daily and at some cost to my work productivity, but I think NC makes me a better and better informed person and employee.
I have noticed some new commentators and from new locations in the past year or so. It’s great that the NC COMMUNITY is growing and able to share live reporting and insights from so many walks of life and in different locations. @ readers who have yet to pipe up, please do so. It’s great to know that we are not alone and all have something to say and share.
> “Western ruling classes truly and deeply believe that every problem can be solved by better propaganda.”
But fake it til you make it so often works. From scamming venture investors, through prosecuting wars and becoming famous and loved in the media, to assuming leadership of great and powerful nations. (Is there a difference between the last two any more?) So it’s easy to see how western ruling classes can believe it, especially when everyone they talk to believes it too, truly and deeply.
We’re mailing our check today. It’s smaller than last year for a number of reasons, one is that I’m severely cutting back on NC in the rationing of my daily attention, for the sake of my mental health. Another is that we recently donated a whole bunch to some other indi news producers.
Thanks to NC for all you do. If I may make one suggestion: schedule site shutdowns so you can take proper breaks. We’ll manage foraging for news elsewhere if needs be. Indeed it might be good for us to practice those skills from time to time.
For those of us on limited budgets, monthly donations can be a good way to support NC. I enjoy participating in the fundraiser every year, and I always do, but find I can give more to the site overall by also having a small amount pulled from my credit card each month. Naked Capitalism is infinitely more valuable than any newspaper or magazine I subscribe to, and I know I’m far from alone in that judgement!
Donation sent through PayPal. No problem with PayPal here in Norway.
NC is my go to trusted English language news site and has been since I discovered it around 2008, maybe a year or two later.
For anyone who reads NC on a regular basis, my thinking is that you HAVE to contribute if you can. There is no other site like it, from the quality of the posts to the commentariat.
Just donated $50 after freeloading for years (will send more when our finances improve beyond barrel-bottom-scraping, hopefully sometime soon). But Yves’ précis of recent history in this post is just magnificent: many many thanks for your hard work.
Just realized Yearly 50 not enough…
Just realized I Need to add at least 20-ish % to compensate for inflation.
My grocery and utility bills are up about 40 percent, so even 20 % is probably low…
Keep up good work.
PS: my head hurts. I think it’s the military grade propaganda flooding the news. And the media, both social and other. I’m going for a long walk now.
PPS: PayPal California works.
I’d just echo what PK and the good Colonel say. This is, I think, my fifteenth year reading NC, and I don’t believe there has ever been a time when it has contributed more to my mental well-being.
I’ve made my annual donation: you should, too.
A little bit coming via PayPal.
Heartfelt thanks to the entire NC team for this wealth of insightful, sane analysis, and dry humor!
As embubbled tribes drift off from reality in various directions, it is increasingly important to sift media reports with a ‘hermeneutic of skepticism’, to glimpse reality through the narrative gaps produced by the clash of lies. NC and its commentariat (pats back) provides an invaluable process for doing this, with an impressive track record. I am glad for the opportunity to support this unique and valuable community.
Recent events collected and assembled together in order as they are in this post present a horrifying view of the state of the world and the actions of the u.s. polity. Years ago it had become plain that the u.s. was in terminal decline but I could never have imagined how rapidly that decline would accelerate. However little regard I had for the u.s. Power Elite, I could never have I imagined their wanton complicity in crafting their own demise for short term gains purchased at unthinkable risk and punative future costs to themselves and to the Populace of the u.s. and Europe, and the Ukraine. Speaking about the u.s. policy of being able to fight two wars simultaneously, one with Russia and one with China, at just past the hour into the recent Paul Jay interview of Chomsky and Ellsberg, “Warning from Chomsky and Ellsberg”, Chomsky said “There are no words in languages for this — lunacy does not work, catastrophic does not work — they will have to invent something new … that is where we are.” I believe Chomsky’s call for new words applies broadly.
Naked Capitalism somehow wades into the current muck of news and analysis to extract good information. I do not know how it manages this, but I am glad it does. Many of the links are not easy for me to access because of the proliferation of paywalls so that I have become increasingly reliant on the independent analysis created for or curated for consumption on Naked Capitalism.
Just kicked in with my own donation with PayPal from Oz with no problems. Naked Capitalism is my go to site for news and analysis, particularly analysis to get an idea of what is happening here and around the world. And we know that NC was all over the pandemic story right from the absolute beginning before cases started to crop up in other countries. Same with other developments which helps people get a heads up on what they should be doing. Without NC, the internet would be a bleaker scene indeed, especially when so many other voices have been silenced over the years. Great work, guys.
As one who has been “freeloading” for a long while due to economic circumstances, I wish to make amends. I do not have a checking account at a bank, and would rather avoid credit cards/Paypal if I can avoid it (anytime I have to make a cc payment, I do so with a postal money order). Would NC accept this method of donation? I do not see any reference to postal money orders on the donate page.