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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3 Ways the Pandemic Has Made the World Better by Zeynep Tufecki (The Atlantic)
Custom-designed vaccines, deeper use of digital infrastructure, and open science are three critical benefits of the COVID-19 pandemic that will be with us for a long time to come. [Link; soft paywall]
America’s Covid Swab Supply Depends on Two Cousins Who Hate Each Other by Olivia Carville (Bloomberg)
Swabs that are critical for testing were only manufactured by two companies globally at the advent of the COVID pandemic. The American one was rife with disfunction, making it a very poor candidate to ramp production to meet impossibly high demand. [Link; soft paywall]
Why Black Parents Aren’t Joining the Push to Reopen Schools by Melinda D. Anderson (Mother Jones)
A deep dive into why there’s a racial divide between black and white parents over the question of school reopenings. [Link]
Boat sales took off during the pandemic and now dealers can’t keep up with demand by Katie Tsai (CNBC)
Boat sales are at decade-plus highs, with first-time buyers by far the biggest segment of new buyers and sustaining their enthusiasm despite the waning of the COVID pandemic. [Link]
Roughly 4 in 5 Manhattan Office Workers Will Not Return Full-Time, Survey Says (NBC New York)
A Partnership for New York City survey showed that just 22% of the large employers on the island of Manhattan plan to bring their workforces back to the office full time. Two-thirds reported planning on a hybrid model. [Link]
Speculation Is Our Middle Name
Tapping Day-Trader Cash, ETF Launches Go From Risky to Roaring by Claire Ballentine (MSN/Bloomberg)
Betting and iGaming, SPAC-Derived, Social Sentiment, and Equity Sentiment ETFs have proliferated, fueled by a huge class of day traders and novice investors who have arrived in stock markets during the pandemic. [Link]
ARKK Copycat Is Beating Cathie Wood’s Original by 10-Fold by Claire Ballentine (Bloomberg)
A small ETF that goes by the memorable ticker MOON is aiming to take on the ARK Invest empire via a focus on innovation. Unlike ARK products, MOON is index-based. [Link; soft paywall]
Morgan Stanley becomes the first big U.S. bank to offer its wealthy clients access to bitcoin funds by Hugh Son (CNBC)
Clients with more than $2mm in assets at Morgan Stanley and an “aggressive risk tolerance” are now eligible to buy funds that offer bitcoin exposure via the MS platform. [Link]
Investing in bonds has ‘become stupid,’ Ray Dalio says. Here’s what he recommends instead by Mike Murphy (MarketWatch)
Somewhat hilariously given the fact that the largest hedge fund in the world owns massive exposure to government bonds, its founder has argued that owning bonds is “stupid”. [Link]
The ‘China Shock’ revisited: insights from value added trade flows by Adam Jakubik and Victor Stolzenburg (Journal of Economic Geography)
The authors decompose imports and exports to identify the US component of gross value added in trade flows and the output that stems from them in order to illustrate a very different impact on US labor markets than previously estimated from the “China Shock”. [Link]
‘No one focuses on the pain here’: Inside Oakland’s abandoned car epidemic by Ariana Bindman (SFGate)
Thousands of abandoned vehicles have piled up in Oakland, often after they’ve been stolen and stripped for valuable parts. The city has under-budgeted a response that requires large resources to properly deal with the scale of the problem. [Link]
Why Did Women Stop Dominating the Beer Industry? by Laken Brooks (Smithsonian Magazine)
During the Middle Ages, women were the ones that brewed beer. But the advent of scalable quasi-industrial brewing meant that men had an incentive to force them off their turf. [Link]
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Have a great weekend!