Naked Capitalism Fundraiser 2023: Finding New Footholds as the Fissures Widen

Our 2023 fundraiser starts today. If you know you will give, please go straight to the Tip Jar, to find out how to support us via check, debit or credit card. Get the fundraiser off to a fast start! Every contribution helps us be bigger and badder in 2024!

We depend on reader support. We hope those who are flush will give generously to help make up for those with tight budgets. And you can contribute in other ways, by circulating posts to friends and colleagues, by participating in comments, and by sending us link candidates.

As we usual for our kickoff post, we’ll look at the past year and what might be coming.

In 2021, we described the trajectory as early stage collapse. 2022 ushered in the hegemony-breaking spectacle of the US getting the war it wanted in Ukraine, only to find it had badly misjudged its opponent. Shock and awe sanctions1 expected to prostrate Russia and lead to Putin’s ouster, instead produced a mere economic stumble and remarkably quick recovery. Russia muddled along with its Plan A after the US and UK scuppered negotiations until Putin ordered a partial mobilization after embarrassing pullbacks in Kherson and Kharkiv. Again despite it being documented in July 2022 that Russia was greatly outproducing the West (see The Return of Industrial Warfare) in terms of materiel and, starting in October, pummeling Ukraine with frequent, large scale missile strikes, the US and NATO believed their PR that Russia was backwards and incompetent and therefore sure to lose.

2023 bought even more Western hubris: the (at least US-endorsed) Nord Stream pipeline blowups, the US continuing to escalate with China even though war games consistently show the US losing badly, the US ineffectively muscling so-called Global South members to denounce Russia as they instead pulled together to expand BRICS, and recently, the misguided “peace summit” at Jeddah, which per Seymour Hersh, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan planned as “The grand alliance of the free world meeting in a victory celebration after the humiliating defeat of the hated foe …” Oopsie.

This ongoing geopolitical realignment features other flare-ups, such as a brewing conflict in Niger, a coup in Gabon, and a simmering revolt in Pakistan due to the jailing of former prime minister Imran Khan (reversed by its Supreme Court but don’t count the US done with its efforts to keep him out of office).

These power (and resource) struggles come as governments and institutions, world-wide, collectively fail to take remotely adequate measures to the combat the existential threat of climate change. Measures so far range from token to hopium. Satyajit Das, in a recent eight-part series of extremely well documented posts, described how most green energy plans assume a 25% reduction in energy use with no foundation in fact. Instead of serious measures like curbing our energy-hogging military and demanding sacrifices from the top via prohibitions on private jets, we have the Biden Administration fiddling as the US burns through pathetic schemes like mandating more energy efficient ceiling fans.

And we have the continuing failure to address Covid effectively as the WHO warns of a spike in the Northern Hemisphere, just as children return to school, and a new vaccine-and-prior-infection evasive variant is on the loose. Yet officialdom has not retreated from its now-clearly-not-working-very-well vax-fixated approach, is still not promoting improving ventilation, and recommends masks only after surges are well underway, including ineffective surgical masks. The officialdom is also ignoring the growing evidence of high health and human costs of repeated Covid infection, including vascular damage, cognitive impairment, and Long Covid, and has yet to get religion about funding research into treatments.

Domestic politics in the US and most advanced economies similarly show increased conflict diverting energy and attention away from severe and worsening problems. Rising inequality and deteriorating social and economic conditions means those below the high end of the food chain find it harder and harder just to get by. Life expectancy at birth in the US has fallen to below not only that of China but even Thailand, whose GDP per capita is only 56% of that of China. The US has decaying infrastructure, rising homelessness, falling educational attainment levels, and critically, a lack of trust in institutions, which is fatal to creating agreement about what the underlying problems are and how to tackle them. And it’s not as if many organizations deserve respect as rentierism, bribery and other forms of corruption regularly get a free pass among the well off, while taking $20 from a cashier’s drawer lands you in jail.

But in the US, this bad situation is made worse by what look like efforts to foment a civil war….and bizarrely, by coastal elites who depend on people they mainly hate for food, power, water, and other essentials, and on the police and military who may not side with them sufficiently if those officially armed forces had to choose.

Nobody should be surprised at the rise of Trump. If he did not exist, another swaggering right-wing figure would fill the void. That’s what happens when elites lose sight of their responsibility to provide for adequate and better yet rising living standards for most and at least make a show of sharing in collective pain. It wasn’t that long ago that the sons of aristocrats and rich Americans were expected to serve in wartime.

But those in charge are determined to brook no challenges to their misrule. They reflexively double down and keep the incompetent and malicious in place, and seem to believe crafting more syrupy fables will appease the mob. We can see how successful the US and NATO have been in making Russia, which ought to be a pariah for its invasion of Ukraine, instead not just a tight ally of China but the leading voice for the new multipolar order. By contrast, the US ruling class should consider itself lucky in its enemies at home. Imagine if Trump stood for anything more than his ego and were capable of executing plans?

We often go back to when this blog started, in 2006. The Global Financial Crisis exposed the high cost of misguided regulation and weak oversight, which was the result of over 30 years institutional and normative hollowing out in response to neoliberal policies. But the crisis also revealed how after a short period of debate over tough measures like nationalizing Citigroup, orthodox opinion quickly rallied around the Obama Administration scheme: restoring the status quo ante as much as possible. (As Obama said in a meeting with bankers: “I stand between you and the pitchforks.”) It turned out that the seeming weakness of the formal authority of the state, hid the power of what Gramsci called hegemony, the ability of civil society institutions like the press, schools, industry groups, and religious organizations to stand as a bulwark behind government. Hence our quip that the Obama Administration thought that every problem could be solved by better PR was far more prescient than we ever imagined.

We now see political fights increasingly about control over Gramsci’s hegemony: more and more concerted efforts to restrict social media and enforce discipline over the mainstream press, via downgrades in Google searches, the launch of the EU Digital Services Act, which bars big platforms from disseminating undefined misinformation and hate speech, the censorship campaigns documented in the Twitter Files, deplatforming and demonetizing accounts, cancelling individuals, and recently, massive fines for Americans who dare write for prohibited publications. And as those are not working very well, we see the efforts to defend the established power structure moving into political repression, ranging from proposals in Germany to outlaw the right wing party AfD to schemes to deny Trump ballot access should he become the Republican party nominee.

We’ve been puzzling since the Greek bailout crisis of 2015 about the operational capability, or more accurately, the lack thereof, of Western businesses and governments. It seemed they were incapable of even properly defining how big and complex key problems were. And that deficiency became a virtue as the public did not want to hear (or was assumed not to want to hear) what it would really take to address serious challenges (most of all breaking rice bowls of many of the rich). We didn’t recognize some of the early signs, such as European governments repeatedly adopting “kick the can” remedies to recurring bank crises, or the Fed realizing its super low interest rate policy had failed, but not having an easy way out.

Mind you, if the officialdom was unwilling to manage its way out of financial paper bags, it should not be a surprise to see it punting a whole series of crises-in-the-making, particularly the mother of them all, climate change. The pervasiveness of incompetence and corruption at the top in the West has led to more and more commentators discussing the rot and what might come next.

But what are we to do, if we’ve taken stock of this bad situation?

Many of you come here, some every day, to try to get a better handle on what is really happening across a broad and sometimes quickly moving front of events, not only out of hunger for information, but a hunger for understanding. As the officialdom no longer bothers presenting consistent claims over time, or sticks doggedly to the stupidest spin, like the Russian public is ready to overthrow Putin, yessiree, and doggedly refuses to advocate even low-cost, low-effort policies like Corsi-Rosenthal boxes, those paying attention realize we have been left to fend for ourselves.

As readers have often said, reading Naked Capitalism is like getting next month’s news today. We pride ourselves on our long-standing record of being early and accurate, but we don’t do this alone. This community is ever more important. Naked Capitalism’s globe- and expertise-spanning commentariat shares information and debates issues intensively, from predatory lenders to promising treatments to solar economics to difficult bureaucracies to expat havens to recipes. And thanks to your invaluable information collecting, screening, aggregation and sometimes course-correcting and last but not least, faithful financial support, we keep adding new beats, covering new terrain, despite having what amounts to 2 full time writer equivalents. If you value this informational heavy lifting, please go straight to the Tip Jar and give generously.

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 surprise first round results in the Argentine election and El Pais telling unwelcome truths about Ukraine; Conor Gallagher algo-driven wage and price fixing, on California’s war on the homeless, and on the wobbly state of major European economies; KLG on key medical papers and on scientism; Lambert on official Covid denialism even as case counts rise and important deep dives, such CDC’s HICPAC and on the Durham report. Michael Hudson has regularly given us first dibs on his articles and transcribed interviews. Contributors Satyajit Das and albrt made regular, important contributions, Das via his afore-mentioned series on energy destinies. Yours truly has attempted to correct the overhyped prospects for a Global South/BRICS new currency (which none other that Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed at the August BRICS conference) and has been examining the decline in the executive function across the West.

We’d like to do more. We’d like to do it even better. Imagine how much trouble we could cause if we got our hands on serious 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 can, 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 you can still 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 describe what your donations will fund and tell you when we’ve hit each of these monetary goals. Our first goal is $24,000 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 only a tiny bit despite addressing many items on our to do list, most important being getting a payment platform besides PayPal. So kudos to Dave, our tech guru!

We particularly like checks! No processor fees! Please make them out to “Aurora Advisors Incorporated,” sent to:

Aurora Advisors Incorporated
PO Box 110105
Brooklyn NY 11211-9997

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

You can also use the Tip Jar to donate by credit card, debit card using Clover or PayPal. Please note PayPal allows you to use your regular credit or debit card. If you can stand to give up your frequent flier miles, the next lowest fee option is a debit card via our merchant processor, Clover.

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.


1 The sanctions were put in place on February 22, 2022, when Russia announced and launched its invasion on February 24.

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  1. Brunches with Cats

    > Naked Capitalism has long straddled a position few occupy, providing both hot takes and near think tank-level analysis.

    Fixed it for you. As a former colleague once said, “It ain’t braggin’ if you can do it.”

    Now, about those commentariat contributions … I don’t have a lot of spare time, but I have less than zero spare cash, so comments are the only contribution I can make. Sometimes I throw out a flippant remark, but often, my comments are long and obsessively researched. Regrettably, since I’m a slow writer to start with, they often don’t show up until everyone has moved on. I post anyway, in the hope that someone will find the info useful or interesting and perhaps file it away with their own subject knowledge for future use. In other words, I hope that it’s meaningful, all the while knowing that, even if I spend half the day working on it, there’s no way a comment can take the place of a $50 check.

    Sometimes, like tonight, I do manage to finish by a reasonable hour, only to see the comment vaporize repeatedly into the mysterious Black Cloud of the Unmanifest Cyberverse. It always seems to happen after I’ve spent five or six hours at the computer, searching for one more bit of info — a date, the spelling of a name, a link. Once, I dared to violate the rules, wrote to ask what happened, and got the answer you’ll only ever need once (loosely paraphrasing): “No discernible reason, no pattern, total mystery, beyond our control.” Reminds me of the time I knitted a special scarf for a coworker for Christmas, packaged it up with a handmade card … Several phone calls, a lost-package report, and two months later, the tattered empty box was found in some forgettably named suburb of Minneapolis.

    Every time a comment disappears without a trace, I kick myself for wasting precious time. But then a week, several weeks, or several months later, someone replies to one of those late comments, and I remember why I keep up the struggle. They thank me for the research, a missing piece of a puzzle, something they hadn’t found anywhere else. Many times, someone has returned the favor by providing links I didn’t have, a few of which opened up whole new worlds of analytical input, leading to more potential explanations for the insanity of TPTB. A small bit of information can pack a mighty wallop, and when it comes from another reader, it’s a mighty reminder that sharing information isn’t “giving something away,” but growing a powerful collective resource.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I’m sorry about your weird comments issues. We do approve yours promptly except when we have a coverage gap (and that’s generally a 12 hours at the absolute tops, more like 4-6). We do have a lot of tripwires these days due to to an overheated environment for discourse generally.

      Have you tried refreshing your browser or opening a new page? Could be a caching issue.

    2. Randall Flagg

      Dear Brunches with Cats,
      Please do not be hard on yourself about what you may think is the quality of your comments. I find nearly ALL of the comments by everyone to be invaluable , either contributing mightily to the post the commenter is responding to, or in response to a comment, or just providing a little comic relief to the sadness or anger caused by the post itself.
      The information provided by some commentators ( thinking IM Doc, forgive me for not mentioning others), has given me the strength to resist in many ways the horse s$$t propaganda the PTB are trying to drown us in.
      Thank you all!!!
      Check on the way when I get back to the desk.

    3. playon

      The best way to avoid the problem of vaporized comments is to open a text editor or word processor program and compose it there, then cut and paste into the comments area. That way if it vanishes you can repost.

      Kudos to all the staff at NC who keep this site going! I donate what I can but it isn’t much.

      1. Brunches with Cats

        Agree that keeping a copy is a good habit to get into, regardless of how you do it (and I give it pretty good odds that most people here know how to cut and paste). However, the problem, as I noted, isn’t “vaporized comments.” It’s a comment being vaporized repeatedly, no matter how many times you repost it or what you do in between, e.g., closing and reopening your browser. Any suggestions for avoiding that?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, US banks don’t like Canadian dollar checks. They take them but give bad FX rates and I think do charge a fee too.

      If you can use PayPal, that is preferable in your case.

  2. Lexx

    A few bucks from me and a few more for anyone who’s short… let’s call it ‘paying it forward’.

    The BRICS coverage has been interesting reading. In our timelines it may represent something new, I’m curious about whether it will be good or evil.

  3. tennesseewaltzer

    Yves, a check is going out in today’s mail. Shakespeare wrote: ” I can no other answer make, but thanks, And thanks, and ever thanks.”

  4. Thuto

    Had a paypal account but deleted it after a bad experience and the banking tech advances this side of the world obviate the need for one for most online transactions. Is there any way to subscribe via direct debit from my cheque card rather than going through paypal?


  5. Michael King

    I was thinking the other day that it might be time for a new fundraiser. Here it is! NC is read every day and this helps my sanity, particularly as regards all things Covid. It’s like spending time with a circle of benign critical thinking friends. Thank you to Yves, Lambert and all at NC (commenters as well). This year I am able to contribute more and am very happy to do so. Abrazos fuerte.

  6. Old Jake

    It’s now been years that my regular automatic monthly contribution has been going. Costs rise but income does not. That’s a conundrum, because NC costs rise too, and I most sincerely do not want to be one of the people who raise themselves on the backs of others. So a bump in the contribution will come this year.

    This blog is my principal source of political and economic information, some directly from posts and comments and some from following leads from links and other contributors.

  7. Abraham's loves

    I will send my contribution soon. Naked capitalism is a breath of freshness and reality in this world of overinformation without content or with spurious content.

  8. Loves of the Sun

    I have sent my contribution. Naked capitalism is a breath of freshness and reality in this world loaded with spurious content or often over-information that says a lot to say nothing.

Comments are closed.