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.

Labor Markets

Northern New England’s Good Jobless Numbers? They’re Bad by Jon Kamp and Jennifer Levitz (WSJ)

While the current popular obsession is insufficient employment, at least one region is feeling the pinch from the opposite side of the equation and it’s not all roses when there’s nobody to hire. [Link; paywall]

Estimates of potential employment growth by Guillermo Roditi Dominguez (NRI/Medium)

The raw math behind how fast employment can rise on a structural basis. Don’t expect 6-figure monthly NFP prints to disappear any time soon. [Link]


Census: More Americans 18-to-34 Now Live With Parents Than With Spouse by Terence P. Jeffrey (CNS News)

Later marriages, more education (and with it, student loans), more expensive home prices, lower employment…there are myriad reasons for the surprising statistics found in the most recent Census data. [Link]

Boom Boom Boom Boom(ers), Gonna shoot you right down by Samuel Gruen (Lightfield Capital)

We don’t necessarily agree with all of the analysis in this piece, but it takes an interesting angle in arguing that demographics are about to make the equity markets a much less rewarding investment than they have been the last few decades. [Link]


Doomsday isn’t coming — here’s why the world is only getting better by Michael Shermer (BI)

Peeling back the onion of the world’s problems, there’s plenty of evidence that the world is becoming a much better place despite the focus on negative headlines. [Link]

The Blood of the Crab by Caren Chesler (Popular Mechanics)

Half a million horseshoe crabs are bled dry every year providing their blue blood, which is invaluable in detecting infections. [Link]

Saudi Arabia, a kingdom built on oil, plans a future beyond it by Steven Mufson (WaPo)

An overview of Vision 2030, the House of Saud’s plan to remake its economy by ending its singular dependence on oil revenues. [Link; soft paywall]


GM says Venezuela has seized its car plant by Alanna Petroff (CNN)

Amidst ongoing economic chaos in socialist Venezuela, GM’s factory has been seized by the Maduro government. [Link]

United Airlines boots bride and groom traveling to their wedding from half-empty plane by Brandi Smith and Hannah Lawson (USA Today)

Another “re-accommodation” from UAL, this time a couple headed to their wedding and at the hands of a U.S. Marshall despite the couple complying with crew’s requests. [Link]

Tech Boondoggles

Silicon Valley’s $400 Juicer May Be Feeling the Squeeze by Ellen Huet and Olivia Zaleski (Bloomberg)

What if your $400 juice machine was easily replaced with Mark 1 human hands? And what if the company making it had already received 9 figures worth of funding for its efforts? [Link]

Torching the Modern-Day Library of Alexandria by James Somers (The Atlantic)

One of the largest collections of books ever assembled is sitting on servers at Google, barred from public access by the combined (and sometimes cross-purpose) efforts of publishers, authors, and the DoJ. [Link]


No Regrets by cavandy (the C is for Caroline)

A personal essay that answers the question “was having kids worth it?” [Link]

Scare Reads

Bill Gates: Terrorists could wipe out 30 million people by weaponising a disease such as smallpox by Sarah Knapton (The Telegraph)

The dark side of Crispr and gene editing kits is the hypothetical risks they create of bioweapons becoming cheap to make, readily available, and a huge threat to human life. [Link]

The Air Force is preparing to test a laser cannon on its ‘Ultimate Battle Plane’ by Jared Keller (Task & Purpose/BI)

Okay, this one isn’t that scary unless you’re on the receiving end of an Air Force C-130 loaded with machine guns, incendiary rounds, a 105mm cannon normally reserved for tanks, and a literal laser beam. [Link]

Personal Finance

Grab Your Pitchforks, America, Your 401(K) May Need Defending from Congress by Jason Zweig (WSJ)

One potential angle for tax reform includes removing the tax shielding provided by retirement savings deductions that have become a mainstay of the US investing landscape. [Link]

Forget Apple Pay. Mastercard’s got a fingerprint reader by Ben Fox Rubin (CNET)

Mastercard is in the process of testing a credit card that uses fingerprint scans to confirm purchases, built right in to the card. [Link; auto-playing video]

Wall Street

Quants Fire Back at Paul Tudor Jones After His Attack on Risk Parity by Dani Burger (Bloomberg)

Macro investing legend Tudor Jones thinks selling of equities on an uptick in volatility will be enormous from the risk parity community; the counter-argument is that similar strategies are still relatively small compared to the market as a whole. [Link]

Monument to Wall Street Glory Becomes Just Another Mortgage Loss by Matt Scully and David M. Levitt (Bloomberg)

Mortgage bonds backed by UBS Americas HQ in Stamford, once one of the largest trading floors in the world, are in default. [Link]

Off-Bore Economics

Accounting for global liquidity: reloading the matrix by Hyun Song Shin (BIS)

Shin argues that dollar appreciation leads to a retreat in bank lending, ultimately leading to lower investment and economic activity despite the benefit to export competitiveness from weaker local currency. [Link; 7 page PDF]

Taxes for Revenue Are Obsolete by Beardsley Ruml (American Affairs/Constitution.org)

A clear argument dating back over 50 years (and from the then-Chair of the NY Fed) that governments with a fiat currency do not fund expenditure via taxation, instead using taxes to sterilize the monetary supply and prevent rapid inflation. [Link; 7 page PDF]

Pop Culture

Best. Episodes. Ever. by Alan Siegel (The Ringer)

A definitive list and watching guide for the 100 best episodes in the history of The Simpsons, complete with summaries and explainers for each. [Link]

Binge on Binging with Babish by Andrew Rea (YouTube)

Granted, this is not a “read” but we loved this list of videos which are part cooking show, part pop culture review. The videos are also loaded with excellent cooking techniques and tips for aspiring chefs. A few favorites: the prison sauce from Goodfellas, Il Timpano from Big Night, and Eggs Woodhouse from Archer. [Link]

Happy Birthday to GIF, a Tech Term That’s Aged Well by Ben Zimmer (WSJ)

Fewer things bring more hilarity than a well-timed reference in moving picture form; from instant messenger clients to social media, the gif is now ubiquitous 30 years after its invention. [Link; paywall]

Bespoke In The News

Another Year of Double-Digit Gains by Leslie P. Norton (Barron’s)

A conversation with Bespoke’s co-founders: Paull Hickey and Justin Walters. [Link; paywall]

Have a great Sunday!

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