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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Institutional shocks and economic outcomes: Allende’s election, Pinochet’s coup and the Santiago stock market by Daniele Girardi and Samuel Bowles (Science Direct/Journal of Development Economics)

Are violent dictatorships bad for markets? In the case of Chile, the coup overthrowing democratically elected Allende and replacing his government with a dictatorship boosted share prices by some 80%. [Link]

Here’s What Beto Could Unleash on Trump by Sasha Issenberg (Politico)

Forget the headline. This story is a much more useful analysis of dos and don’ts of scaling up an organization to very large size in a very short time than it is as a window on either the candidate in question or the outlook for 2020 elections. [Link]


Pour One Out for the Fading American Beer Industry by Craig Giammona and Carmen Reincke (Bloomberg)

While literally every other segment of the American alcohol market is seeing robust growth, beer sales are slowing – and that’s with craft beer volumes up 15% since 2015. [Link; soft paywall]

The curious story of how transatlantic exchange shaped Italy’s illustrious coffee culture by Cosimo Bizzarri (Quartz)

The iconic Italian coffee bar serves a uniquely Italian espresso, but the walk-up method of service is something that came directly from America. [Link]


‘The South Stands at Armageddon’: Breaking the Sugar Bowl color barrier by Ivan Maisel (ESPN)

The invitation of an integrated Pittsburgh Panthers squad to face Georgia Tech in the Sugar Bowl at the end of the 1956 season was a landmark drama as sports helped force integration. [Link]

Who was the real Don Shirley? Family shares dismay at portrayal in ‘Green Book’ by Hamil Harris (MSN)

Best Picture winner The Green Book came at the objection of the subject’s family, who claimed they were shut out by the makers of the film. [Link]


An MMT response on what causes inflation by Scott Fullwiler, Rohan Grey, and Nathan Tankus (FTAV)

An explanation and argument in favor of the precepts of modern monetary theory (MMT), as the subject has gained traction in broader discussions about fiscal policy. [Link; registration required]

The Paper Money of Colonial North Carolina, 1712-1774 by Cory Cutsail and Farley Grubb (University of Delaware Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics Working Papers)

A fascinating history of the paper money issued by paper money issued by then-colony North Carolina; the story behind that monetary arrangement is fascinating and under-studied in terms of both narrative and data. [Link; 71 page PDF]


A World Without Clouds by Natalie Wolchover (Quanta)

One of the many possible positive feedback loops that are still completely beyond the comprehension of climate scientists are clouds, which have the potential to exacerbate climate change as the planet warms. [Link]

Old Is New

Wind-Powered Cargo by Lucy Bellwood (The Nib)

A history of shipping technology and a story about the entrepreneurs who are trying to return to wind-powered ocean transport. [Link]

Skyscrapers Made of Wood Are Making a Comeback by Jen Skerritt (Bloomberg)

Advances in durability and flame resistance are prompting a return to the scene of wooden high-rises, which carry a lower cost thanks to similar unit prices but more efficient labor intensity and lower construction times. [Link; soft paywall]


Artist Damien Hirst unveils the most expensive hotel suite ever at $200,000 for TWO nights with a private pool overlooking the Vegas Strip and 24-hour butler – but only high rollers can reserve the villa by Ryan Parry and James Desborough (Daily Mail)

Care to drop the price of a small house on two nights in the lap of luxury at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas? We’ve got just the thing for you. [Link; auto-playing video]


Financier Who Amassed Insurance Firms Diverted $2 Billion Into His Private Empire by Mark Maremont and Leslie Scism (WSJ)

A North Carolina insurance mogul has amassed a massive fortune thanks to loans from his insurance companies, creating risks for his policyholders. [Link; paywall]

Fox Rocked by $179M ‘Bones’ Ruling: Lying, Cheating and “Reprehensible” Studio Fraud by Eriq Gardner (The Hollywood Reporter)

A California judge passed down a rather dramatic ruling this month that gave an award of $179mm to rightsholders of the detective show Bones; they had been bilked out of millions in income by below-cost sales of the show to other businesses controlled by the same company. [Link]


Book Written by Detainee via WhatsApp Gets a Top Prize by Isabella Kwai and Livia Albeck-Ripka (NYT)

An asylum-seeker detained by the Australian government has been given a 125,000 AUD reward for a book that he wrote entirely via What’s App messages while in detention. [Link]

Imminent Domain

Many Texans Want a Border Wall Without a Federal Land Grab. That’s Impossible. by Gus Bova (Texas Observer)

While the citizens of the state with the longest stretch of southern border are evenly split about whether a wall with Mexico is a good idea, they’re two-to-one against any wall that uses imminent domain to seize private lands. Of course, the two go hand-in-hand, meaning roughly one-in-six Texans are between a rock and a hard place. [Link]

Tech Dystopia

The Trauma Floor by Casey Newton (The Verge)

Facebook outsources its content moderation to third-party service providers. To say their employees are suffering under the constant deluge of horrific material that gets reported would be understating things quite a bit. [Link]

Remote Work

Liberty Mutual tells over 600 employees to work from home full-time by Greg Ryan (Boston Business Journal)

Instead of paying for office space for employees in Pennsylvania and Indiana, Liberty Mutual is telling them to work from home instead of renting office space for them. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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