The Resilience of Naked Capitalism
By Ignacio Moreno Echanove, an epidemiologist who lives in Spain
This is a strange year. Isn’t it? Taken by surprise by an epidemic that is having a profound effect on our lives and activities, our societies, economies and politics, and no less on the media and news outlets. Fear and hysteria have generated noise well above the normal level.
Yet, among the noise, anger, and fear we still can count on Naked Capitalism to handle the storm. If this was a challenge, Naked Capitalism has passed it with better scores than any other media outlet I was checking this year, particularly during lockdowns. Such resiliency needs our support, our contribution, so please donate here to fund the hard, high-caliber work that keeps Naked Capitalism healthy.
For many years, NC has been unique in identifying and providing coverage on topics that matter, starting with tracking the many forms of predatory behavior that had become so prevalent in the financial world decades ago, dissecting with a sharp scalpel our how our economies work and the ideologies that create policy decisions, analysing politics and geo-politics, and connecting the game of power with its effects on our day-by-day life, our environment, and our personal worries… this is quite a task. Yves Smith, Lambert Strether, Jerri-Lynn Scofield, Jules Dickson and the outstanding group of Naked Capitalism collaborators and sources deserve a lot of merit and my admiration. Yes, I feel the need to contribute. You can too…at the friendly Tip Jar.
This is an American site and accordingly centers its attention in the most powerful and influential country, but by no means forgets the rest of the world. I am not American, English is not my native language, yet I get here a perspective and range that I haven’t found anywhere else. Just take a look at, for instance, the excellent Brexit coverage at Naked Capitalism and its reporting on the Mauritius oil spill. Examples like this make Naked Capitalism my must-go site for news.
Naked Capitalism has some narrow topics it treats in depth. Why should I take interest in the woes of a pension fund thousand miles from home? Easy: Because there are important lessons to be learned, like the consequences of poor management and weak boards; the way investors fall into groupthink; how private equity investors act like religious followers, looking more like Heaven’s Gate than proper Catholics or Episcopalians. Most of the mistakes and misconduct at CalPERS, a public agency, are a good illustration what is or can all too quickly go wrong with the management of public and private mutual and pension funds, in and outside the US. I talk frequently with the person I love the most, who for many years has been involved in the management of a mutual fund. She confirms how important is not to trust professional managers blindly and keep an eye on their performance.
CalPERS is also a lesson in activism: how board members like JJ Jelincic and now Margaret Brown, with some outside help, are pushing for sensible reforms, yet management and their allies on the board fight back ferociously. CalPERS is a window into many issues in finance, in government, and in organizations. Digging deep into important stories, not being trapped into giving superficial coverage of hot stories, providing background, analysis, knowledge and discussion are Naked Capitalism trademarks.
Oh! I haven’t yet mentioned healthcare, have I? Isn’t this important issue now front burner with the Covid-19 epidemic?
Naked Capitalism has a long history of health care coverage not paralleled in most generalist outlets, again combining broad perspective with deep, narrow focus on particular issues like contact tracing and the private equity hand in “surprise” billing.
When I remember the bad old days of confinement at home when I was obsessively trying to sort out the gems from the ashes of Covid-19… you know what? Naked Capitalism helped me a lot. I feel grateful about this endless effort of news search and curation resulting in broad, informative overviews of the news with a lot of stimulating material, like updates on science, on politics in places like India where I lack time to research well on my own, on how the US and Europe and China are all fighting over the power of technology companies. Another good reason to donate.
Trust me, while I am writing this, I am tearing up a little, such was the intensity of personal emotions, of feeling less alone during the long lockdown. If you endured confinement, I hope Naked Capitalism helped you the same way it helped me.
I might go on with themes that Naked Capitalism has not just touched but analysed in depth and this would become quite longish. What is common to all issues that have been addressed at Naked Capitalism is that it goes well beyond conventional wisdom. Everyone’s views are challenged here, examined with a critical eye, refuted or substantiated. Claims will be shown to stand to reason or not, checked for supporting or contrarian evidence.
It’s hard to feel comfortable here with conventional opinions. Becoming a regular reader will shake them. My experience says this process can be unsettling but in the long run this process creates rich mental soil. Years ago Naked Capitalism was quite a challenging read for me… just like now, hahaha! But now these sediments allow me to, may be, digest complex issues somehow better.
I wouldn’t pretend to understand the complexities of finance or economy but I can identify weaknesses and strengths in more or less bold claims that I might read here and there. In my limited English I would say that my little brain is not that easily overwhelmed, if you understand what I mean.
Besides all this, Naked Capitalism nurses a commentary section that is the little secret jewel of the crown. This doesn’t come for free. It requires constant attention, an effort I cannot even grasp. The comment section is rich and entertaining, sometimes illuminating, always interesting. Priceless could be the best adjective, but the effort to keep this lively section comes with a cost that also needs our support (remember the Tip Jar).
I hope I can convince you, the reader, to support Naked Capitalism. A rare example of a valuable and independent blog and news site that exists only thanks to donations from its readers. I cannot help but feel grateful – as a Naked Capitalism supporter – with any amount you can afford. But if you are doing well, please give generously, because every dollar (or euro or peso or rupee) helps make this site, this community, more rewarding.