Bespoke Brunch Reads: 4/3/22

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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Russia Built Parallel Payments System That Escaped Western Sanctions by Alexander Osipovich and AnnaMaria Androtis (WSJ)

While Russia’s central bank and debt markets have been badly hobbled by sanctions, consumer payments are flowing thanks to the country’s homegrown payments system. [Link; paywall]

War with Russia? Finland has a plan for that by Richard Milne (FT)

Finland’s larger neighbor has long been a threat, and the response from Finnish society has been a layered approach that builds best practices for national defense into all aspects of social planning. [Link; soft paywall]


Democrats: Go Directly to the Center by Ruy Teixeira (The Liberal Patriot)

A plea for Democrats to hue away from the left ahead of midterms later this year, though whether they can recover from the traditional mean-reversion against the majority during a President’s first term regardless of their pitch to voters is an open question. [Link]

Why are women voters moving to the left? by Stephen Bush (FT)

Across the developed world, women are increasingly voting to the left, with the patterns holding across a range of countries over the past decade or so. [Link; soft paywall]


A Rugged Newcomer Looks to Fill a Void Left by Land Rover by Mercedes Lilienthal (NYT)

Upstart auto manufacturer INEOS Group is hoping to seize the terrain vacated by Jaguar Land Rover when it discontinued its venerable Defender SUV in 2016. [Link; soft paywall]


Expensify’s unusual diversity drive by Jamie Powell (FT Alphaville)

A SaaS company that IPO’d last year is going to contribute 25% of salaries paid to white, male employees to a foundation that focuses on housing equity, youth advocacy, food security, reentry services, or climate justice. [Link; registration required]

Seeing Green

Positive Drug Tests Among U.S. Workers Hit Two-Decade High by Will Feuer (WSJ)

Roughly one in twenty five drug tests processed by Quest Diagnostics last year came back positive as legalized marijuana spread across the country. [Link; paywall]


Ben McKenzie Would Like a Word With the Crypto Bros by David Yaffe-Bellany (NYT)

The fascinating story of how the former star of The OC has become a voice of reason and anti-crypto activist in the midst of a campaign against his fellow celebrities’ constant shilling. [Link; soft paywall]

Organized Crime

Citrus fruits, scurvy and the origins of the Sicilian mafia by Alessia Isopi and Arcangelo Dimico (The Conversation)

The origins of la cosa nostra in Sicily during the 19th century are obscure, but probably had a lot to do with the booming demand for citrus brought on by a desire to keep sailors away from scurvy during long-distance sea voyages. [Link]


Global wind and solar growth on track to meet climate targets by Forrest Crellin (Reuters)

If the wind and solar industry can continue growing at its 10 year growth rate over the next decade, there will be enough renewable energy supplanting carbon-based generation to reduce sufficiently to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. [Link]

Study Up

Class Attendance in College: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Relationship of Class Attendance With Grades and Student Characteristics by Marcus Credé, Sylvia G. Roch, and Urszula M. Kieszczynka (Review of Educational Research)

Regular class attendance is an incredibly consistent predictor of academic success across a wide variety of outcomes and controls, outperforming all other variables. [Link; 25 page PDF]

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Have a great weekend!