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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Legal Proceedings

Lords of Misrule by Matt Stoller (The Baffler)

A comprehensive account of why so few white collar criminals – especially those on Wall Street – face the full fury of the American legal system. [Link]

A Judge, a Clerk and Secret Recordings: Drama Engulfs a Staten Island Court by Alan Feuer (NYT)

This story reads like something out of a poorly written farce: a judge who won’t let go of control over her criminal court despite her husband serving as DA in the same jurisdiction. [Link; soft paywall]


‘False Peace’ for Markets? A Trader Is Betting Millions on It by Landon Thomas Jr (NYT)

A profile of Christopher Cole, whose Artemis Capital is making big bets on a significant uptick in volatility in the US equity market. [Link; soft paywall]

Bridgewater’s Ray Dalio Spreads His Gospel of ‘Radical Transparency’ by Alexandra Stevenson and Matthew Goldstein (NYT)

Every preacher needs a fundamental text, and in the case of the world’s largest hedge fund that text is “The Principals”, a quasi-philosophical approach to how he sees the world. [Link; soft paywall]


Italian banks’ bad loans fall sharply as economy rebounds by Valentina Romei and Thomas Hale (FT)

Banks in Italy have sold billions of bad debt off in portfolios to third party investors, reducing the aggregate stock of non-performing loans on their balance sheets by about 15%. [Link; paywall]


How the Potato Changed the World by Charles C. Mann (Smithsonian)

The fifth-most important crop worldwide is the humble potato, brought to Europe, Asia, and Africa from the Americas almost half a millennia ago, fundamentally disrupting how humans eat. [Link]


Harrison Ford on Star Wars, Blade Runner, and Punching Ryan Gosling in the Face by Chris Heath (GQ)

Call us corny, but we’ve always thought Harrison Ford was just…cool. There’s really no other way to put it, and we don’t think you’ll walk away from this interview thinking otherwise. [Link]

A Most American Terrorist: The Making of Dylann Roof by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah (GQ)

Gut-wrenching, horrifying, and deeply disturbing: dive into the world of Dylann Roof, the white supremacist terrorist who murdered 10 people while they were attending bible study at their church in Charleston, South Carolina. [Link]

“Real” Estate

A 58-story skyscraper in San Francisco is tilting and sinking — and residents say their multimillion-dollar condos are ‘nearly worthless’ by Melia Robinson (Business Insider)

Since completion in 2008, a rise in San Francisco has sunk 17 inches and tilted 14 inches, built on packed sand instead of bedrock and surrounded by other construction. [Link]

Economic Musings

A Few Words on the Dollar by Brad Setser (Council on Foreign Relations)

Setser is being modest with his “few words”: this is a very dense but digestible piece on the value of the dollar and its impacts on the economy both to the upside and the downside. [Link]

The Rise and Fall of Mexican Migration by Adam Ozimek (Moody’s)

Contrary to every popular narrative in politics and culture, immigration from Mexico to the US has fallen to zero net flow; what’s more, shifting demographics mean that a return to inflows from Mexico to the US is almost certainly not going to happen. [Link]

Who Owns The Wealth In Tax Havens? Macro Evidence And Implications For Global Inequality by Annette Alstadsæter, Niels Johannesen, and Gabriel Zucman (NBER Working Papers)

Using new data, the authors estimate the share of global wealth by country held in tax havens, with some incredible results including wealth equivalent to more than half of GDP in some countries held in tax havens. [Link; 34 page PDF]


China Fossil Fuel Deadline Shifts Focus to Electric Car Race (Bloomberg)

The world’s largest auto market has decided to do away with the internal combustion engine and join developed countries like the UK and France in pursuing that goal. [Link; auto-playing video]

Have a great Sunday!

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