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Bespoke Brunch Reads: 4/10/22

Welcome to Bespoke Brunch Reads — a linkfest of the favorite things we read over the past week. The links are mostly market related, but there are some other interesting subjects covered as well. We hope you enjoy the food for thought as a supplement to the research we provide you during the week.

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The Masters

Augusta family next to Masters golf course keeps turning down millions for their 1,900-square-foot house by Cork Gaines (Insider)

The crowds at Augusta National often walk past the Thacker family abode at 1112 Stanley Drive, just across the street from Gate 6A. The Thackers have repeatedly turned down millions for the property. [Link]

Masters 2022: Anything but the green jacket — tales from player shopping sprees by Josh Weinfuss (ESPN)

What’s the point in attending the most exclusive golf tournament in the world if you don’t bring home some swag to prove you were there? [Link]

China

China’s $2.3 Trillion Infrastructure Plan Puts America’s to Shame by Tom Hancock (Bloomberg)

The already investment-intensive Chinese economy is going to plough another $2.3trn into infrastructure to offset slowing property markets and an economy wracked by COVID, high debt, and weak consumer spending. [Link; soft paywall]

Shunned Oil Piling Up Off China as Virus Outbreak Worsens (Bloomberg)

Amidst extreme oil shortages around the global economy, more than 20 million barrels of crude from Russia, Iran, and Venezuela are sitting offshore in China as domestic demand collapses thanks to interventions seeking to contain the spread of COVID. [Link; soft paywall]

Inflation

Shoppers Face ‘Shrinkflation’ at the Supermarket by Donna Fuscaldo (AARP)

In addition to raising the price of goods, companies are also reducing the size of packaged goods without changing the price. This shows up in official inflation measures (because they are adjusted for the weight or volume of a given item) but may sneak up on consumers at the store. [Link]

Inflation fears force Americans to rethink financial choices, CNBC and Acorns survey says by Michelle Fox (CNBC)

A somewhat hard-to-believe 48% of Americans report thinking about rising prices “all the time”. More than half of respondents to a recent survey reported cutting back on dining out, the most common response to inflation reported. Though that’s also tough to square with restaurant spending at a record level in February per BEA data. [Link]

New York

NYC’s Priciest Seafood Spots Skyrocket Further Into the $1,000 Stratosphere by Ryan Sutton (Eater)

Won’t someone think of the Nobu patrons? A dinner for two at Sushi Noz now costs $1k, amidst a wave of higher prices around the highest-end meals in New York City. [Link]

The world’s skinniest skyscraper is ready for its first residents by Lydia Armstrong (CNN)

The Steinway Tower at 111 West 57th is 24x as tall as it is wide, making it the third-tallest building in New York but at 84 stories it will be the most slender tower in the world. [Link]

NYC landlords filing so many eviction cases that firms for low-income tenants have run out of lawyers by Molly Crane-Newman (New York Daily News)

More than 10,000 eviction proceedings were filed in New York during the last two months, on top of more than 200,000 suits filed during the pandemic; there are so many suits that there aren’t enough lawyers to represent all the tenants. [Link; auto-playing video]

Social Studies

U.S. life expectancy falls for 2nd year in a row by Rob Stein (NPR)

Despite the country moving on from the pandemic, thousands of Americans are still dying of COVID, and provisional statistics showed that drove down life expectancy for the second consecutive year in 2021. [Link]

America’s internet is splitting along party lines by Sara Fischer and Scott Rosenberg (Axios)

Investors are betting on durable partisan splits in media consumption, as media consumers gravitate towards similar viewpoints at siloed sites. [Link]

The Workplace

This Is What Happens When There Are Too Many Meetings by Derek Thompson (The Atlantic)

White collar workers are increasingly finding productivity late into the night, with workers increasingly returning to tasks after dinner and before the end of the night. [Link; soft paywall]

“Great Resignations” Are Common During Fast Recoveries by Bart Hobijn (FRBSF)

Fast labor market recoveries generally lead to elevated job turnover, making the much-heralded “great resignation” of the current post-COVID jobs boom wholly unremarkable. [Link]

Bearish Bets

If Stocks Don’t Fall, the Fed Needs to Force Them by Bill Dudley (Bloomberg)

An argument that for the economy to slow as desired by the Federal Reserve, even more shock therapy is needed in the form tighter financial conditions. [Link; soft paywall, auto-playing video]

Crypto

The Metaverse Has Bosses Too. Meet the ‘Managers’ of Axie Infinity by Edward Ongweso Jr (Vice)

A dystopian vision of a crypto-fueled gaming future that outsources the hard work of collecting in-game rewards to workers in the Global South and exposes anybody playing to wild variations in market prices which have nothing to do with underlying game. [Link]

Conspicuous Consumption

The Real Yacht Rock: Inside the Lavish, Top-Secret World of Private Gigs by David Browne (Rolling Stone)

Some of the biggest paydays in music come from private bashes for the world’s wealthy: millions for a single quick show performed to a small private audience. [Link]

Drones

Amazon, Alphabet and Others Are Quietly Rolling Out Drone Delivery Across America by Christopher Mims (WSJ)

Consumers are starting to get deliveries from drones after years of promises that they are right around the corner. Air dropped packages, quadcopter deliveries, and rapid Prime from the sky are all part of the landscape. [Link; paywall]

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Have a great weekend!