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.

Long Reads

Tariffs increase savings in a world already drowsy with too much savings by Michael Pettis (FTAV)

An argument that because modern trade deficits balance capital flows instead of vice-versa, efforts to reduce trade imbalances via tariffs will only make underlying problems worse. [Link; registration required]

A Graphic History of the War (US War Department May 1942)

An amazing graphic representation of the economic, strategic, and military background for the Second World War in the months after Pearl Harbor. [Link; 76 page PDF, very large file]

World After Capital by Albert Wenger (Git Books)

This online book argues that we are in the midst of a transition as profound as the industrial revolution, in which attention will become more important than capital. [Link]

This Week In Trump

Stock market cooling off from the ‘Trump bump’ by Sylvan Lane (The Hill)

After the stock market surged last year thanks in part to policy changes and business optimism, the “Trump bump” in stocks has given way to volatility and a significant drawdown. [Link; auto-playing video]

Feds Raid Office of Trump Lawyer Who Paid Off Stormy Daniels. This Is a Big Deal. by Ken White (Reason)

A legal analysis of the implications of the FBI’s search warrant against Trump fixer/lawyer Michael Cohen this week. [Link]


Apple, Amazon and Google Also Are Bracing for Privacy Regulations by Christopher Mims (WSJ)

While Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s trip to the Hill went pretty well this week, public opinion and political pressure is swinging against the hands-off approach taken so far with respect to privacy. [Link; paywall]

Now you can get Spotify and Hulu together for just $12.99 each month by Chris Welch (The Verge)

Just when you thought that the bundle was dead, new ones are emerging. In this case, consumers are getting the option to pay for music and Hulu together. [Link]

Silicon Valley Powered American Tech Dominance—Now It Has a Challenger by Phred Dvorak and Yasufumi Saito (WSJ)

While the United States is still the undisputed king of the venture capital funding world, early-stage investments in China have surged as the space has expanded globally. [Link; paywall]

Dark Side of Social

Your Pretty Face is Going to Sell by Joe Vix (SF MoMA)

YouTube has a human face, and that face is a physical, indeed personal, manifestation of click bait in human form. [Link]

When Jack Dorsey’s Fight Against Twitter Trolls Got Personal by Austin Carr (Fast Company)

The CEO of Twitter is taking an increasingly decisive role in the company’s approach to dealing with trust and safety, a neat space that encompasses many facets of how users experience the social network. [Link]

Economic Research

How the Reformulation of OxyContin Ignited the Heroin Epidemic by William N. Evans, Ethan Lieber, and Patrick Power (NBER Working Papers)

An intensive analysis of the drivers of the opioid epidemic, which the authors attribute over-perscription of legal pain medications then to changes in the formulation of OxyContin. Make sure to browse through the charts starting on page 28. [Link; 50 page PDF]

The 10-Year Baby Window That Is the Key to the Women’s Pay Gap by Claire Cain Miller (NYT)

Women who have babies after the age of 35 don’t see a pay gap develop similar to that of women who have children earlier according to a new study; established careers end up making a big difference. [Link; soft paywall]

The Geography of Social Capital in America (Joint Economic Committee)

At the request of Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), Congressional staff prepared a huge look at the role of social capital and where it is strongest (or weakest). [Link; 78 page PDF]

America’s Gradebook: How Does Your State Stack Up? (Urban Institute)

The National Assessment of Educational Progress is a helpful like-for-like comparison of educational outcomes across the United States. But crucially it does not account for varying demographics; when accounting for those, a very different picture of achievement is seen in the data. [Link]


What Happened to the Oil Glut? by Benoit Faucon, Summer Said, and Anant Vijay Kala (WSJ)

As US rig counts dropped, demand took off thanks to price, and OPEC cut output, the massive ocean of stored crude which emerged in 2014-2017 started to drain out into the market. [Link; paywall]


Credit Card Signatures Are About to Become Extinct in the U.S. by Stacy Cowley (NYT)

With the advance of chip technology, signatures are now obsolete and that will be formalized when the major networks stop requiring them next month. [Link; soft paywall]

The Great Blackstone Swaps Saga Just Became a Whole Lot Crazier by Sridhar Natarajan (Bloomberg)

A complicated series of transactions by homebuilder Hovnanian and Blackstone’s credit unit have created a serious problem for the credit default swap market. [Link; auto-playing video]

Sports, Sort Of

ESPN Brought To Its Knees By Reply Allpocalypse by Tom Ley (Deadspin)

Anyone working in a large organization knows the trials and tribulations of accidentally cc’ing the wrong list of addresses and in one instance this week that drama got taken to another level at the Worldwide Leader. [Link]

World Cup 2018 BLOODBATH: Russian hooligans warn England fans ‘Prepare to DIE’ by Sebastian Kettley (The Express)

Russian fans are apparently unwilling to cede the title of world’s most out of control sports fan brawlers to English soccer fans at the world cup this summer. [Link; auto-playing video]


Worried About Your Tax Bill? Hedge-Fund Star John Paulson Owes $1 Billion by Gregory Zuckman (WSJ)

Did you know that the largest possible sum that can be submitted to the IRS in one payment is $99,999,999? [Link; paywall]

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Have a great Sunday!

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