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.
I have been a regular reader of Naked Capitalism since the Great Financial Crisis. At this remove I cannot remember who or what first directed me here, but I am grateful. And if you are as grateful as I am, I hope you will take a detour to the Tip Jar and support this vital work. Every donation helps, big or small. And if you can give big, I implore you to give really big, not just for yourself but also for others who would like to make a large gift too but can’t right now.
It has been clear to me for a long time that our political economy is a complete mess. In my case this goes all the way back to one evening long ago when I was watching “The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite” with my father, the union chemical worker. I was 10 or 11 years old, and the story that impressed me was something that has been repeated thousands of times since the mid-1960s: A large corporation laid off a few thousand workers, their stock price jumped. There was rejoicing on Wall Street and in their halls of power in Washington, DC.
This was simply wrong by any measure, and I have been a complete skeptic of our institutions and our erstwhile leaders ever since. Naked Capitalism, with its “Fearless commentary on finance, economics, politics and power,” is one of the few places where the world of political economy is covered unmolested by special interests and special pleading. We are an island of sanity where the coverage really is fearless.
But Naked Capitalism is much more than fearless, a word that is often confused with heedless in this modern world. Naked Capitalism is a place where the goal is to get at the truth. And contrary to much of the post-postmodern nonsense we hear and read and see, there is truth out there. But it takes work to get at it.
No, this does not mean that Naked Capitalism is where “the truth” can be read. But it does mean that this is a place where serious efforts to explain the world, good and bad, are the daily fare.
After a few extended comments on COVID vaccines, some solicited by Yves in response to comments that needed a response, I was honored to be asked to contribute regularly when an opening appeared. And when I say “honored” that is exactly what I mean.
Community is one of our most misunderstood and misused words in the twenty-first century. It is not clear that under the dead hand of Late Neoliberalism Capitalism that community is even possible. It is certainly not considered necessary, for in the infamous words of Margaret Thatcher, “There is no alternative” to what we have now. Of course, the future not-so-politely begs to differ. That is another matter altogether…one that is also covered daily here.
The sociologist Ray Oldenburg wrote about the Third Place. Naked Capitalism is a modern Great Good Place, although one that is virtual. People come together here, outside of work and family, to discuss life, the world, and our place in it without judgment of each other.
Which brings us to the heart of Naked Capitalism, its commentariat. Of all the “places” on the internet that cover our politics, culture, science, history, and economics, some of which are very good, this Third Place is the one in my experience that accepts all well-reasoned and serious essays – some short, some long – at understanding from the reader. People of differing views are accepted if they “can back it up.” This has been true here from the beginning. Yes, there is a common understanding at NC, but it is not the form of orthodoxy that is suffocating us and making the future such a dicey proposition for our children and grandchildren.
From what I gather about the quality of the Naked Capitalism commentariat, I would guess that each of us has at least one physical Third Place of our own that keep us engaged in the material human world. My current Third Place is the golf course – at this very moment several at the Home of Golf in Scotland, where I am on the trip of a lifetime. It is possible that I have met the other Lefty Golfer in the universe on this trip! But I digress. Virtually none of my companions, at home and today in East Lothian, shares my views but each of us respects the other and we are willing to listen. The only things that can get one cast into the outer darkness are a lack of seriousness, when required, and respect. Neither is tolerated at Naked Capitalism.
I have been humbled and chastened and inspired by those of you have engaged with me in my contributions to Naked Capitalism, which passed the one-year mark earlier this month. All this time I have also maintained my monthly subscription. As the saying goes, Naked Capitalism could not “do it without you.”
If you are able, your support at whatever level possible is much appreciated by those in the “home office” Yves, Lambert, regulars like Conor and Nick and me, and just as importantly those behind the scenes who make this virtual community possible. Please go to the Tip Jar and give generously! Remember every contribution, large or small, helps the site thrive.
In the words of Wendell Berry in his essential essay ”Discipline and Hope,” if humanity is to have a future, discipline will lead to hope, while optimism will lead only to despair. Naked Capitalism provides us with both hope and discipline in this modern but immoderate world. Cheers!
And thank you!