The Lost World: New York City and Naked Capitalism, Then and Now

The Lost World: New York City and Naked Capitalism, Then and Now 1

By jr, an adopted New Yorker

I believe I first came across Naked Capitalism in 2018, where and how I do not recall except that it must have been mentioned in an article I was reading. I do remember navigating to the site and instantly recoiling from the preponderance of numbers-heavy economic and financial reporting. I fled before all that quantitative analysis left permanent scarring.

I had lived in New York City for several years at that point and I considered myself a New Yorker, albeit a transplant. How I loved that city, with its promise of deranged adventures at every turn, where an innocent Friday night at the bar could turn into a Saturday-long party with, after a few scraps of sleep, a hungover rush to get to work on time come Sunday. With a sack of lewd stories to share with my workmates. The city, or as I prefer the City, positively vibrated with the promise of something new and something fun at every turn, in those days.

But in 2018 I had settled down quite a bit, no longer a wanton single on the prowl and with a stable job, I dare say a career, in the making. For years, I had intentionally turned away from edifying pursuits of any kind, losing myself in the nuanced and sweet debauch that the City laid out nightly. Now my old interests in learning and self-development were coming back to me.

I dug out books I had not read in years and I searched for new ones. I began to read not only the news but analysis of the news, which grew into a new understanding of the wicked state of the world. I had always been an outsider and while in school I had an analysis of why that was the best place to be. I needed to refresh that analysis and then grow it out.

Although I had turned away from Naked Capitalism initially, I always kept its existence in the back of my mind. Good clearinghouses of information on the Internet are rare. I had long ago learned to ignore the mainstream media except as a thing to understand what was generally not true. There were some good blogs but they were small and their commentariats tended to be parochial.

I found myself returning to Naked Capitalism again to try and feed my growing need for timely and pertinent knowledge of the world. And if you are hooked too, time for you to chip in at the Tip Jar! Every bit helps, so if you can give a little, give a little, and if you can give a lot, dig deep!

And I found it. Pushing through the numbers, I now saw the rich, manifold weave of ideas, perspectives, arguments, and anecdotes. Here, information was currency. Counterfeiters and connivers were dealt with a zealous harshness by moderators and commentators alike that gleamed like a Crusader’s sword held aloft to the sun. Historians mingled with farmers, scientists with stay-at-home moms, philosophers with manga fans. Professors wrote of using the site to train their students to write and think; financial analysts wrote of relying on the site for solid information; commentators of all stripes testified over and again to the life-changing value of the information to be found there.

The truth was sought not only for its practical value, but for its own sake. Someone once chided me about being an (overly?) active participant on Naked Capitalism because I like to think I’m right about everything. I replied that rather than trying to be “right” all the time, Naked Capitalism and its beloved commentariat were seeking the truth at all costs. No matter how diffuse, no matter how distant, no matter how unlikely such a search might be. Truth though the heavens burn.

Although I had dabbled very little with actual social media due to its inanity and the vileness of the companies that provide those platforms, I became as hooked on reading and commenting as a 16 year old with a Tik-Tok account, a sporty haircut, and an overdeveloped self-image. I now found myself waking up to, walking around with, dining at, and nodding off to Naked Capitalism. I was changing and the site was an integral part of that change. Gone were the days of willful ignorance and self-imposed shallowness. I immersed myself in the site’s torrent of information and felt myself growing, my mind expanding, my view encompassing sights it hadn’t thought available before. And if you’ve had Naked Capitalism become part of your life, keep it going by visiting the donations page.

Then COVID hit.

With the arrival of the pandemic, Naked Capitalism revealed an entirely new level of import. Now, it was an actual lifesaver along with being life-enhancing. It was here I learned about the subtleties of masking, of non-pharmaceutical interventions, of the dangers of the cures that didn’t cure. I also learned about the deeply fractured state of our public health system via the COVID Brain Trust, that bejeweled asset. I learned of the rampant insanity and prideful ignorance in the face of a plague, from all corners of the United States, Main Street to the White House, and from around the world. I learned that society was in a far worse place than I had even suspected, and that is saying a lot.

Now, over two years into COVID, my old and cherished City is gone. No longer populated by exhilarating adventures, rather it is filled with dangers. Its denizens, seeking the freedoms that only those lacking freedom find satisfying, have mostly thrown caution to the wind. While numbers climb and new threats emerge, my fellow New Yorkers by and large have succumbed to magical thinking and a faux resistance to perceived oppression while the powers that be close ranks and advance unchecked.

Lying and corruption rot both the floor and the roof of society. Intellectual degeneracy panders to itself and drives out honest thought. Honest suspicion fuels divisiveness and hate. But, like a lighthouse in a storm, sturdy Naked Capitalism remains, beaming out clarity and a visceral sense of fraternity while all else seems to founder. I know I cannot do without it. So please, join me in supporting this vital initiative. Whether you it’s $5, or $50, or $5000, contribute generously at the donation page.

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