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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Labor Versus Capital

Bernie Sanders Backs Deadspin Staff in Clash With Private Equity by Gerry Smith (MSN/Bloomberg)

Erstwhile sports website Deadspin was bought by private equity, and then tried to exercise editorial control. As a result the entire staff of writers and editors quit the site. [Link]

For the first time, workers are paying a higher tax rate than investors and owners by Christopher Ingraham (WaPo)

For the first time dating back to at least 1920, taxes paid on capital have fallen below those paid by labor, in aggregate, thanks to recent tax cuts for higher income earners and corporations. [Link; soft paywall]

Crime & Punishment Craziness

Police Owe Nothing To Man Whose Home They Blew Up, Appeals Court Says by Bobby Allyn (NPR)

After stealing $75 worth of merchandise and barricading themselves in a stranger’s home, Colorado police destroyed the residence. The city is now refusing to compensate the totally innocent bystander, and federal courts are siding with them. [Link]

Bill would help California’s inmate firefighters pursue career after release by Megan Cassidy (San Francisco Chronicle)

California’s inmates are often enlisted when wildfires flair up, getting paid miniscule wages. After they’re released, however, they can’t put that experience to work in helping to protect homes from fires thanks to their status as ex-convicts. [Link]

Trouble In Paradise

Elite M.B.A. Programs Report Steep Drop in Applications by Chip Cutter (WSJ)

Immigration restrictions and a general climate of hostility towards foreign visitors have gutted the application roles at the most prestigious MBA programs, with the solid domestic economy also playing a role. [Link; paywall]

Rajeev Misra Built SoftBank’s Huge Tech Fund. Now He Has to Save It. by Liz Hoffman and Bradley Hope (WSJ)

A profile of the man that has steered Soft Bank’s Vision Fund into the rocky shoals of blown up funding rounds and collapsing valuations. [Link; paywall]


Libraries Are Even More Important to Contemporary Community Than We Thought by Eric Klinenberg (Literary Hub)

New research suggests that public, free institutions of learning (higher or lower) aren’t just important for loaning out books, but for establishing a hub of community contact and social engagement which can fight back against the isolation and alienation many identify as a major problem for society. [Link]

Towns to Self-Storage Facilities: Please Go Someplace Else by David Harrison (WSJ)

A boom in self storage buildings has led to pushback from local leaders who would rather see higher foot traffic, labor-intensive uses for space that is available in sometimes prime locations. [Link; paywall]

Do New Housing Units in Your Backyard Raise Your Rents? by Xiaodi Li (Fannie Mae Working Papers)

A fascinating job market paper from NYU Wagner’s Li tries to tease out the impact of new development on neighborhoods. The results are reasonably clear: more building lowers rents, attract new restaurants, and that on net existing residents see their housing expenses drop. [Link]

Social Studies

Woman Dies at Gender-Reveal Party Gone Wrong by Marie Lodi (The Cut)

Over the last couple of years there have been some wild gender reveal parties, but the most recent tragedy brings the absurdity of the stunts into focus as a woman in Iowa was killed by the pipe bomb designed to announce the gender of a couple’s new child. [Link]

‘OK Boomer’ Marks the End of Friendly Generational Relations by Taylor Lorenz (NYT)

Younger Americans are absolute exasperated with the stunts of their elders, and they’re bring the sort of snark you might expect. [Link; soft paywall]

The Internet

50 years ago today, the internet was born in Room 3420 by Mark Sullivan (Fast Company)

In 1969, a student at UCLA sent a message to a colleague at another terminal on the other side of California, the birth of ARPANET (which became the modern internet). [Link]

History In Fiction

How — and Why — Watchmen Staged an American Massacre by Rebecca Alter (Vulture)

While HBO’s Watchmen is filled with speculative fiction, the opening sequence of the series is very faithful recreation of one of the most violent, tragic, and under-discussed events in this country’s history. [Link]

Odd Tipples

Washington’s wacky booze regulation still on the books, a century after Prohibition by Don Chareunsy (The Seattle Times)

A list of hilarious and absurd regulations governing how Americans imbibe, from coast to coast. [Link]

Cash Is King

So much for a cashless society: Currency is popular again, especially the $100 bill by Leonid Bershidsky and Mark Whitehouse (LAT)

Despite the fact that more and more economic activity takes place via electronic payments of various kinds, demand for cash remains robust at 8.2% of GDP, near the highs for the past several decades. [Link]

Learn To Trade

JPMorgan Arms Coders With Trading Licenses as Quants Advance by Viren Vaghela (Bloomberg)

It turns out it’s easier to give a trading license to a coder than to give a trader lessons to code; that’s why JPM is giving some of its code-based quants the ability to trade directly. [Link; soft paywall]

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Have a great weekend!

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