Welcome to Bespoke Brunch Reads, our Saturday morning summary of interesting things we’re reading this week. The links are mostly market related, but there will be some other interesting subjects covered as well.  The links are in no particular order.  We hope you enjoy the food for thought as a supplement to the research we provide you during the week.

S&P Gets In Trouble For Giving AAA Rating To Obviously Terrible Thing by Matt Levine (Dealbreaker)

Matt no longer writes for Dealbreaker, and this piece is quite old, but it’s one we love a quick re-read of every now and then…both for its humor and its sharp analysis. [Link]

Exclusive: Chinese aluminum, nickel producers ask state to buy up surplus metal by Polly Yam (Reuters)

Chinese firms are flooded with inventories of base metals and facing a massive cash crunch amidst rising debts, and the solution is quite predictable. [Link]

Here’s what we know – and don’t know – about Alberta’s carbon tax by Trevor Tombe (Macleans)

An interesting and informed look at the new carbon tax rolled out by Canadian province Alberta; the results have implications for both investors and policy makers. [Link]

Comparative Advantage, Task Allocation, and Trade – In The Style of Dr. Seuss’ “One Fish Two Fish” by Kenny Fennell (University of Michigan)

A hilarious way to think about the way society allocates its human capital, gussied up into a quick rhyming scheme. [PDF Link]

Are There a Thousand Central Banks in China? You Bet. By Chris Balding (Balding’s World)

A helpful review of recent thinking on the monetary situation in China. We note that it links to the next two pieces included below, and all three are worth reading in one sitting. [Link]

Relending program shows China girding for bank bailouts by Christopher Aston (Nikkei Asian Review)

Recent pilot programs indicate that Chinese policy makers are preparing to directly monetize troubled loan portfolios, a step that might be compared to QE but in effect goes far, far beyond that particular central bank tool. [Link]

Wait, China’s employment counting problem…solved? By David Keohane (FT Alphaville)

New data unearthed from several sources give a more clear picture of the labor market – and general economic health – in China; while the new approach is by no means a “bottom line”, they’re certainly helpful in providing more illumination. [Link, registration required]

Junk-Bond Losses Pile Up as Traders Flee Any Whiff of Bad News by Sridhar Natarajan (Bloomberg)

Credit investors are selling first and asking questions later as concerns grow over the health of issuers, but it’s not clear if that is a signal for the broader turn of the credit cycle.

The Doomsday Invention by Raffi Khatchadourian (The New Yorker)

In a long (12,000 words) meditation on the future of the future, this meditation explores the promise and peril of artificial intelligence. [Link]

The Oxford Economist Running the Fed’s Interest Rate Machine by Katy Burne (WSJ)

A nice profile of Simon Potter, who is head of markets for the NY Fed and therefore the official in charge of pushing up Fed Funds effective within the FOMC’s target band should they decide to raise rates. [Link, paywall]

Silicon Valley professionals are taking LSD at work to increase productivity by Adam Boult (The Telegraph)

Micro-doses of LSD may sound like the last thing that would increase productivity when sitting and writing code but the phenomenon is growing amongst California’s coders. [Link]

Amazon Said Planning to Add Other Online Networks to Prime Video by Lucas Shaw (Bloomberg)

For all the talk of a dying cable bundle, Amazon’s commercial strategy of adding new bundle-style offerings indicates that the bundle may be here to stay regardless of the on demand or passive delivery mode. [Link]

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