By Matt Stoller, author of Goliath: The 100-Year War Between Monopoly Power and Democracy and the research director of the American Economic Liberties Project who writes regularly at Substack
I read a tweet today from the Wall Street Journal that both amused me immensely and set my hair on fire with rage. (There should be a German word for that, like angrivolkenfunny). Here’s what it said, and keep in mind, this was not written as a joke.
“More passengers are discovering the benefits of exercising during this summer’s long flight delays.”
More passengers are discovering the benefits of exercising during this summer’s long flight delays.
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) August 17, 2022
And sure enough, there’s a whole article about the upsides of delays, without a single mention of the fraud that the airlines routinely commit on their passengers, or the failed regulatory choices of McKinsey automaton Pete Buttigieg.
Aside from getting in a jab at Buttigieg, which is always enjoyable, what does this have to do with Naked Capitalism? Well, it’s simple. You’d never see anything remotely like that here. The cowardice on the display, the suck-up to power, the “get used to not having nice things you peon” attitude, it’s pervasive throughout the media. But it’s not on display at Naked Capitalism. Ever.
Because Naked Capitalism is about substance. Love it. Hate it. Agree with this community or find it intolerable, you have to engage with the arguments that Yves, and everyone who writes and comments here, put out.
Naked Capitalism first came to prominence in 2006, as a lone voice describing the machinations of the mortgage market. By detailing the interaction of a series of predatory hedge funds with securitization, Yves was able to map out the broad contours of the collapse in a way with which we have still yet to reckon. She was a lone voice, a dissident voice, and this was a community where people gathered to ask and answer the questions, “Am I crazy? Or are political elites truly this clueless?” (The answers are no to the first question and yes to the second.)
This dynamic continued for the foreclosure crisis, disease preparedness, the Eurozone crisis, global geopolitics, and private equity. Naked Capitalism as a lone voice and community making sense of the senseless. The reason for this is simple. Our political elites do not generally follow details, and Naked Capitalism does. In fact, private equity is an excellent jumping off point. Everyone at this point understands the basic predatory nature of the business model, but it is this site more than any other that has tracked the funding sources – pension funds – and why the staff and leaders at CalPERS and other funds continue to hand taxpayer resources to billionaires.
I don’t always agree with what you guys write and say, but I read Naked Capitalism because you have the heterodox view, not just to be iconoclastic, but because that’s where the substance leads you. I read the posts and the comments, because this community is more than just one, or even multiple writers. It is a place without bullshit.
That’s why supporting Yves and this site matters so much. Naked Capitalism offers the key message we all need to hear. No we are not alone, and yes the elites are that stupid.
And believe it or not, but broadcasting these arguments does foster change. Elites do not like being embarrassed, and they react to these kinds of arguments. So give, if you can, via the friendly Tip Jar, because at the very least it annoys the bad guys.
More seriously, I said this last year, but I’ll say it again because it’s still true. If you believe, as I do, that a community of truth matters, then give what you can. If you have a lot, give a lot. If you have nothing, then give words of encouragement. It all matters. Go to the Donation Page and chip in.
We are heading into some rough terrain, in terms of the climate, disease, and inflation. It’s four horsemen of the apocalypse, need to invent new German words to describe suffering due to incompetence-type stuff. But as the crises we’re dealing with get worse, the search for answers will grow. And this site, at the very least, knows how to ask the right questions. So if you can, please give.
If you can’t afford anything, you can still help by spreading the word about Naked Capitalism by telling friends and family, circulating important stories, posting links on Facebook, Twitter and other horrible social media sites none of us should be using because they are bad for living things.
Another part of focusing on details is that it means you know what’s coming before the rest of the world does. That’s always been how Naked Capitalism operates, from the financial crisis onward. You live in the present, which puts you ahead of the curve. This year, the Naked Capitalism community has been focused on supply chain breakdowns, the erosion of U.S. hegemony, the ripple effects and politics of Ukraine-Russia, the failure of our public health agencies, as well as the fun stuff around financial games and pension rot we all know and love. I don’t agree with every post or comment published here, but I also know most of them are well-thought out and done in good faith. And where else is that the case?
This kind of reporting, discussion, and analysis matters, because it helps us stay ahead of the curve, and it forces elites to pay attention by embarrassing them with a better grasp of the details than they have. Please donate to make the people in power start worrying that the proles are on to them.
And of course, it’s not just Yves. Lambert has been relentlessly tracking Covid and the slow motion implosion of the Democratic Party. Nick Corbishley watches European banks, the campaign against cash and for digital surveillance. KLG focuses on corruption in medicine and bioscience, and John McGregor and Conor Gallagher are covering the politics of Italy, Australia, Turkey, China, and India.
Things are bleak, but things have always looked bleak. In the 1950s we were hiding under desks at school to dodge atomic bombs, and we made it through that.
Besides, it’s always nice to contribute to annoying the powerful merely by telling the truth. The power of our elites relies on their unearned confidence, and the rest of us not knowing the details. Help Yves keep annoying them! You can donate here.
Or maybe don’t. After all, Pete Buttigieg won’t like it, and you wouldn’t want to displease him.