As we describe in our fundraiser kickoff post, 2023 has been intense. And we’ve risen to its demands despite the challenge of being a small and lean site. We’ve given you in-depth, ahead-of-the-curve analysis of geopolitical realignment, inadequate responses to climate change, elite malfeasance and predation, and in the US, efforts to foment civil war-level conflict. If you are proud of us too, please go immediately to the Tip Jar to give by check, debit or credit card. Support world-ranging information curating, incisive commentary, mordant wit, and endearing animal photos.
As Van wrote:
I want to thank you for your intellectual and moral integrity and the ferocious amount of work you put into NC to which you have attracted others of equal intellectual and moral weight both among the contributors and the commentariat. I look forward to my daily reading of Naked Capitalism.
And Simple John:
I just pinned 21 articles to read today.
I’m subscribed but this volume of interesting thoughts, facts, and opinion moderated by Eve deserves a tip. I’ll be sending a check for $100.
Anyone who hasn’t caught on yet – Eve is the best aggregator of the above, someone so capable that you wouldn’t imagine her if she didn’t exist. If that wasn’t enough, she is extremely capable of informing us readers of her level of certainty and when she thinks her readers can fill in with additional info. Kudos tiger. I hope I’m not too effusive. Today is a day of gratitude for me.
Even though (in “Lambert blushes modestly” mode), I’m humbled by this praise, rest assured Naked Capitalism is not a personal enterprise. Those of you who read Links see how many come from members of the commentariat. And more and more of our daily original content comes from site writers – Lambert, Nick, Conor, and KLG – as well as external regulars such as Michael Hudson, Satyajit Das, Hubert Horan and albrt, plus independent writers like Thomas Neuburger, John Helmer, Andrew Korybko, and Rajiv Sethi who graciously let us syndicate their work.
Below we recap how we’ve served the Naked Capitalism community since our last fundraiser.
What We Did Last Year: Mapping the Future Early
In some ways, 2023 was like 2022 except more so: widespread institutional failures, from climate dithering and hopium to faltering health care systems in the US and many advanced economies even before getting to the latest Covid waves, to central banks acting as if the only way to address the current inflation is by the quack cure of interest rate increases, to heretofore unheard of levels of censorship to silence both the cray cray and those speaking uncomfortable, important truths. And that’s before getting to even more escalation and confrontation internationally and at home, witness the West throwing even more weapon systems into the Ukraine burn pit to coups in Africa and the threat in Germany to outlaw the AfD.
But at the same time, even as extreme events are seemingly becoming the new normal, there’s a danger of ignoring their importance, particularly as the Mighty Wurlitzer is trying to tune them out. It now seems that the authorities believe they have so addled the public that they don’t have to be consistent or even pretend to respect facts, witness the not credible claims that the US had nothing to do with the Nord Stream pipeline bombing, or pretending that open borders with no plans for how to assimilate and legitimately employ the migrants is a good idea, or that drilling for more oil is the way out of the climate crisis.
Indeed, propaganda has become the main line of defense for both the overarching problem of climate change and widespread institutional breakdown. The ongoing geopolitical realignment away from the West, the US/NATO refusal to perceive that they cannot “win” a war with Russia short of the catastrophic lose/lose of nuclear war, and the failure to acknowledge, let alone address, the ongoing health costs of Covid are all facets of breakdowns in systems and what passes for leadership. For years, we’ve focused on the lack of operational competence of large organizations, most visibly governments but also critically important private sector players. Distressingly, as Lambert coined, everything really is like CalPERS.
By contrast, tiny Naked Capitalism punches well above its weight and publishes our many and varied posts reliably, each and every day. Last year, thanks to your generous support, increased our coverage last year while keeping our high standards:
Expanding out beats by having Conor and KLG join. We hope you are as excited about Conor’s and KLG’s contributions as we are. Conor has written many in-depth articles about simmering and actual conflicts in parts of the world that are often outside mainstream media attention but are important sites of ongoing geopolitical power struggles and potential flash points. KLG has been systematically writing about science and medicine, with emphasis on intellectual corruption, and techniques you can use to spot it.
Chronicling the US sabotaging its own empire. Too many seem to think US imperial collapse is just another business opportunity, witness the enthusiasm for buying yet more weapons systems that didn’t perform well in Ukraine.
Our decades of regime-changing, using “open trade” agreements to give multinational profits precedence over national laws, and indifference to the impact of the Fed’s interest rate changes on small economies have finally come home to roost. Now that China and Russia are tightly allied and the supposedly dominant and swaggering Western military is revealed as optimized for fighting small units of bearded men in sandals, much of the rest of the world has decided to stand up to US bullying and exploitation.
Even though the diversity of BRICS + new entrants means it will take time for them to agree on governance measures and non-dollar payment infrastructure, the fact that they have come together and agreed to cooperate on a broad agenda is a huge blow to US leadership. Even if the new and improved BRICS does not get as far as its members hope, they will be able to work together to reshape or even dominate other international organizations.
Parsing and demolishing propaganda campaigns. This focus cuts across all topics. Both regular Naked Capitalism writers and the many members of our esteemed commentariat keep a sharp eye out for official nonsense and press releases disguised as reporting. Sadly we are seeing how advocates and promoters keep what ought to be embarrassingly dead narratives alive, like Russiagate or worse, depicting anyone who challenges dodgy factchecking as a conspiracy theorist, a Trump fan or a Putin lover, usually all at once.
The demand for performative shows of loyalty in the form of amplifying official story lines has only gotten louder as more things stuffed under rugs are visibly moving. Here, Naked Capitalism’s yearslong focus on developing and practicing critical thinking skills has served our community well, as shown (to pick but one example) by our debunking of Ukrainian propaganda when the war began. Remember “the ghost of Kiev“? Not only is everything like CalPERS, everything is like the ghost of Kiev, too! (The same principle applies domestically, as for example CDC’s “scientific communication” on Covid).
Documenting climate change acceleration as the elites carry on as usual. Although our work here has depended heavily on coverage in Links and cross posts by experts, this year we featured an eight-part, in-depth series by Satyajit Das on what he called energy realities, meaning demand, supply, resource, and infrastructure issues. It confirmed our belief that Green New Deal schemes are inadequate and our only hope for preventing worst outcomes is radical conservation… which pretty much no one is willing to embrace.
Tracking Covid-19. Thanks to the ongoing advice of our Covid brain trust, Ignacio, IM Doc, GM, and KLG, Lambert relentlessly following the scientific literature and the data (such as it is), the variant and aerosol communities on Twitter (“X”), and the considerable input of the commentariat, Naked Capitalism continues to have the best coverage of Covid, outdoing the mainstream media. This year we expanded coverage of the institutional response to Covid, with several deep dives into the CDC’s dereliction, with special attention to CDC’s Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC), which is working hard to reduce patient protection against infection, not only from Covid, but generally.
Analyzing inflation and resource stresses. Most experts are ignoring that this inflation is significantly due to a reduction in global productive capacity, first due to Covid (labor force reductions, off and on lockdowns in China, continuing backlogs and bottlenecks) and to resource constraints, such as food due to climate-change-induced crop shortages and disease.
Some of our accomplishments are continuing core activities:
Upholding rigorous standards of reporting and analysis in the face of a captured and credulous mainstream media. We challenge you to identify another publisher that does as much as we do with so little, such as following the Ukraine war, the prospects for a new currency, US-China escalation and China economic weakness, plans for official digital currencies, Covid-19, and US war over Trump and culture change, increasing surveillance and struggles for narrative control, as well as election 2024.
Upgrading our technology. Without belaboring the geekery, our able tech guru Dave has continued to improve our services and harden our defenses.
Getting first dibs on Michael Hudson’s posts. Michael Hudson graciously and regularly gives NC the first publication opportunity because he likes you! Or at least most of you :-)
Maintaining expanded Links and overall writer effort. We increased our daily Links feature during the Trump era from a former maximum of 45 articles and tweets to 55 to 60. This represents a significant extra effort, day in, day out. We have been able to maintain, and even increase, our original reporting post more often, but also having Lambert take on more Links coverage, and now having an extra original post every Wednesday, with KLG and Conor Gallagher alternating.
We also continue to feature posts from our regular guest writers: Tom Neuburger, Hubert Horan, and Satyajit Das.
Fostering the best commentariat. Naked Capitalism depends on its commentariat. We’ve reluctantly installeld more tripwires due to an ever-more heated social media environment. We are very grateful that most of you tolerate getting caught in moderation with good humor. But that means more comments to moderate. Tradeoffs!
How This Fundraiser Works
Please give whatever you can. $5, $50, or $5,000 are all appreciated. If you can only afford to give a little, then give a little. If you’re doing well, then please give more.
If you are prospering, we hope you’ll include us in your good fortune, not just on our behalf but also for members of the community who have told us they want to help out but are too money-stressed to do so right now. So can you dig deeper and give more to make up for loyal readers who can’t participate in this fundraiser?
It will all even out in the end. Everything you do – reading, commenting, giving, and sending us information and antidotes – is essential to making this community work. You can help right now by following this link to make a donation.
Our accompanying kickoff post gives a high-level view of what we’d like to do. Over the course of the fundraiser, we identify specific things that your donations will fund and tell you when we’ve hit each of these monetary goals.
The first goal is funding for digital infrastructure essentials.
This plumbing is not very sexy, but imagine what happens when your water is cut off or your power fails! This is a critical foundation for this site, so please help us keep it sound.
Our hosting upgrade (we now have a backup host!) and need to tackle overdue tech asks, plus general inflation, means our nut has gotten bigger. So our first target is $24,000. Once we’ve hit that, we’ll let you know what our next item is.
How to Give
There are multiple channels for donating, and you will see them all when you go to our Tip Jar.
We really like checks! To give by check (which saves us PayPal/credit card fees), please make it out in the name of “Aurora Advisors Incorporated” and send it to:
Aurora Advisors Incorporated
PO Box 110105
Brooklyn NY 11211-9997
At the same time, please send an e-mail to email@example.com with the headline “Check is in the mail” (and just the $ amount in the message) so we can count your contribution in the total number of donations.
Thanks again for your interest and generous support!