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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Stratcom Commander Says U.S. Should Look to 1950s to Regain Competitive Edge by C. Todd Lopez (Department of Defense)
While the lesson of Ukraine is that many global adversaries are woefully under-equipped for wars the US might become involved in, the Secretary of Defense advocates a return to an era when the US was able to develop and procure weapons on much shorter timelines. [Link]
Canadian intelligence warned PM Trudeau that China covertly funded 2019 election candidates: Sources by Sam Cooper (Global News)
The federal elections in 2019 were targeted by Chinese intelligence networks, per an analysis by Canada’s own intelligence community. Agents were placed in MPs’ offices and campaigns were orchestrated to punish MPs viewed as insufficiently pro-China. [Link]
Wheels Come Off
FTX used $4 billion including customer funds to keep Alameda afloat: Reuters by Inbar Preiss (The Block)
As crypto exchange FTX collapsed this week, reports emerged that customer funds had been used to cover massive trading losses at an affiliated market-making firm. [Link]
Mortgage Fund in Canada Halts Payouts Amid Liquidity Crunch by Layan Odeh (Yahoo!/Bloomberg)
A Canadian mortgage firm is halting redemptions in response to repayment stress and a surge in investor requests to return their capital. [Link]
Appearances Can Be Deceiving
The U.S. Labor Market Is Less Tight Than It Appears by Rand Ghayad, Carl Shan, and Yao Huang (Harvard Business Review)
An analysis of job postings on LinkedIn suggests that much of the huge increase in job openings is a mirage, with roughly half as much true demand for workers as official statistics would otherwise indicate. [Link]
Monetary Policy Stance Is Tighter than Federal Funds Rate by Jason Choi, Taeyoung Doh, Andrew Foerster, and Zinnia Martinez (FRBSF)
When adjusting the path of the Fed Funds rate to account for information from other financial markets, the Fed Funds rate rose above 5.25% by September of this year, much more policy tightening than has actually taken place thus far. [Link]
TikTok Secretly Scores Influencers on Metrics Like ‘Cooperation’ and ‘Diligence’ by Thomas Germain (Gizmodo)
Internal scores at TikTok are being used to rank influencers on the platform across a range of metrics that include enthusiasm, willingness to promote products, and other inputs. [Link]
How Australia became the world’s greatest lithium supplier by Royce Kurmelovs (BBC)
After riding the wave of Chinese demand for iron ore and copper in the last commodities bull market, Australia is jockeying for a spot at the top of the decarbonization supercycle as well. [Link]
A City Fights Back Against Heavyweight Cars by David Zipper (Bloombeg)
Soaring demand for super-sized trucks are creating huge risks for pedestrians and the climate. Washington, DC is attempting to push back, introducing a new $500/vehicle registration fee for vehicles that weigh over 6,000 pounds. [Link; soft paywall]
The (good) pollsters got the midterms right by G. Elliott Morris (Substack)
High quality polls generally did a good job of predicting the outcome this election; by some measures, Senate polling was tied with 2006 as the most accurate cycle on record. That’s a huge contrast with the 3-4 point errors in polls for the last Presidential election. [Link]
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Have a great weekend!